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Bill amendment aimed at giving state say in La. levee project

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Senate has accepted an amendment authored by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) aimed at giving Mississippi a role in a proposed levee project that could result in new flood threats to the Mississippi Gulf Coast if not carefully studied with input from affected parties.

The Cochran amendment was incorporated into a package of amendments added to the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (S.601 or WRDA). It is the end product of three amendments introduced by Cochran last week.

The modified Cochran amendment clarifies that a section of the bill related to Gulf Coast flood protection does not authorize construction or program assistance for a flood control barrier across the Lake Pontchartrain land bridge, and that any study to advance such a project must include the consultation and approval of the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana.

“The amendment ensures that Gov. Bryant will have a seat at the table if and when projects that could affect Mississippi are considered. It will give Mississippians a role in guaranteeing that a flood control project built by our neighbors won’t inadvertently increase flood risk on our side of the border,” Cochran said.

The Senate is expected to complete debate today on WRDA, which is the federal law that authorizes Army Corps of Engineers water conservation and development projects throughout the country.

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