Landrieu Comments on MRGO Closure Report - 12/15/2006
WASHINGTON — United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today released a statement regarding an interim report, delivered to Congress by the Army Corps of Engineers this afternoon, outlining preliminary options for the closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). The canal, having widened as a result of decades of coastal erosion, is considered by many engineers and analysts to have been a significant contributing factor to the strength of the storm surge in Lake Pontchartrain following Hurricane Katrina.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Landrieu secured language in the last Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill, passed in June, directing the Corps to prepare the report. Today was set as the statutory deadline for the six-month interim report, with final recommendations due next December.
Sen. Landrieu said:
"Today's report by the Army Corps of Engineers affirms what the people of St. Bernard, eastern New Orleans and the surrounding region already know -- the MRGO canal is an open wound that needs to be closed in an intelligent way before it exposes our coastal communities to further destruction. But just as a new home needs a blueprint, closure requires an immediate action plan.
"This report is an important step forward. Along with my colleagues on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, experts in the field, and state and local officials, I will continue to work with the Corps to integrate solutions into the broader coastal protection and restoration plan now taking shape.
"Louisiana's future lies in tying together comprehensive flood control, hurricane protection and coastal wetlands restoration into one, integrated water management plan. I am pleased to report that with the President's signature next week of the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security bill, we will also be closer to having the complete, reliable funding stream necessary to turn our blueprints into a stronger, safer Louisiana."