In The News
Our state's economy, culture and heritage are deeply tied to our unique coast and the Mississippi River, but decades of severe erosion have left our coast tattered. This erosion has also removed the barrier that used to exist to protect us against violent storms in the Gulf.
The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a bill by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, to streamline some federal reporting requirements for communications businesses and regulators.
Just in the nick of time, the House Wednesday night approved a 60-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. The approval came by voice vote.
This time there were no blue umbrellas, no Capitol rallies and no visits with congressional leaders. Women of the Storm, a group formed after Hurricane Katrina to advocate for post-storm assistance from the federal government, had a "virtual" lobbying effort Wednesday: using cell phones, social networks and email to reach the congressional members deciding whether to include the Restore Act in a pending transportation bill.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, is calling on state lawmakers to abandon a proposal that could allow the Legislature to redirect fines from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to projects unrelated to coastal restoration.
A bill that could send billions of dollars to the Gulf Coast for restoration after the Gulf oil spill passed the U.S. House Wednesday. The Restore Act, which would dedicate 80 percent of the BP Clean Water Act fines to the Gulf, passed as part of a transportation extension bill with a 293-127 vote.
The House gave voice vote approval Thursday to an amendment that would dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 BP oil spill to a new Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The vote was a key victory for supporters of using the fine money to finance environmental restoration in the five Gulf states, but only a first step. The amendment still needs Senate approval and enactment of separate legislation, called the RESTORE Act, to designate a formula for distributing the money, which could be in the billions of dollars.
FEMA Thursday rejected Jefferson Parish's appeal of the federal agency's refusal to cancel $55 million in Special Community Disaster Loans. "By rejecting Jefferson Parish's bid for FEMA loan forgiveness, the Obama Administration has broken the promise made by Vice President Joe Biden who came to Louisiana and pledged that the loans would be forgiven," said Rep. Steve Scalise R-Jefferson.
... two bills circulating in Congress, both known as the RESTORE Act, propose to funnel 80% of those fines to the Gulf Coast to be spent on projects ranging from rebuilding damaged marshes to marketing campaigns aimed at bolstering Gulf tourism. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A similar bill is being reviewed in committees in the Senate.
The White House has decided to sideline a proposed fee on Christmas trees, after the fee was ridiculed by critics as a tax on Christmas.