Passage of WRDA Bill Legislation Paves Way for Belle Pass and Port Fourchon Channel Deepening

(CUT OFF, LA) – After completing a lengthy Section 203 Feasibility Study Report with its own funds, the Greater Lafourche Port Commission received some great news regarding the passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020.

The package of spending bills that Congress passed overnight including the WRDA Bill, which was a multi-thousand-page document that requires federal approval and the backing of delegation members, has given the port authorization to begin dredging Belle Pass, Bayou Lafourche, and the Northern Expansion to 30 feet in the coming years.

“The Greater Lafourche Port Commission applauds the House passage of the Water Resources Development Act,” GLPC Executive Director Chett Chiasson said. “This bill contains authorization to construct the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Deepening project, which is the culmination of more than three years of study conducted by our Port Commission, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with the final approval of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, and United States Office of Management and Budget. This will enable Port Fourchon to deepen its channels to an initial depth of 30 feet to accommodate the needs of our tenants in the offshore energy service industry and beyond.”

Chiasson noted that this is a BIG step toward the ultimate goal of dredging Belle Pass to an ultra-deep 50-foot draft that will bring Fourchon Island online as a premier destination for deepwater repair work and refurbishment of offshore installations, among other diversified opportunities.

“We will continue to evaluate our future needs and depths and seek to modify the authorization in the future, as dictated by industry needs. We wish to thank our Congressman Steve Scalise, Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator John Kennedy, and the rest of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and their staffs for their support over the past three years while we were conducting this study, and for the development and passage of the current Water Resources legislation. In particular, we would like to sincerely thank Congressman Garrett Graves for his work on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in getting this project into the bill,” Chiasson said.

Additionally, the dredged sediments that result from this deepening project and future ones will help to rebuild the coastal landscape in and around Port Fourchon.

“Our board of commissioners has been supportive of our initiatives to bring about many enhancements to our port for not only today, but for the future,” Chiasson said. “The credit truly goes to them for setting us up to be successful not only in the realm of our contribution to industry interests, but also for contributing richly to our surrounding landscape through participation in worthwhile coastal restoration projects.”

This legislation now goes to President Trump for his signature.

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