Citizens Attempting To Sway Army Corps Of Engineers To Provide Coastal Protection
Citizens in Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion Parishes are concerned that the Army Corps of Engineers will overlook the need of coastal protection structures for Southwestern Louisiana's coastline.
One Vermilion Parish resident, Shannon Neveaux, has taken to the front lines in the battle to establish structural protection for the coast. She has penned, and collected, a petition to be sent to the Corps' New Orleans branch while the 45-day public comment period concerning the issue is closed.
The Corps released the first draft of its Southwest Coastal Louisiana Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement in 2013, five years after first reaching out to residents of the tri-parish area. Neveaux said after reading the report, it was evident that no hurricane protection was to be offered to the area. The Corps did outline options that include having homes lifted and that some homeowners even consider buyouts and relocations.
One purpose of the study, as listed in a Corps release, is to reduce the risk of hurricane and storm surge and flood damages, but Neveaux said though the Corps offers property owners some options of their own to undertake, there are no plans to install any structural solutions along the coast.
"The message was clear," Neveaux recalled, via e-mail. "The people and land of Southwest Coastal Louisiana, our history and culture, our unique way of life, our agricultural and oil field economic contribution weren’t valuable enough to protect"
The Corps has since released a second draft of the report with little change, Neveaux reported. She did list one concern as being the addition of phrases such as "involuntary participation" and "imminent domain" into the report's text.
Although public meetings, designed to address the public's concerns on the report, have already occurred in all three parishes, Neveaux told KPEL there is still time to submit public comments on the issue. The Corps is accepting written comments until May 5. Those comments, for or against the Corp's plans, should be directed to:
Sandra Stiles, Regional Planning and Environment Division – South New Orleans District, Corps of Engineers P.O. Box 60267 New Orleans, LA 70160-0267 Or to SWCoastalAdmin@usace.army.mil or by fax at 504-862-1892
The Army Corps of Engineers' report can be viewed online at: http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/About/Projects/SouthwestCoastal.aspx