Baton Rouge - The White House Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council rendered approval to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request to include Louisiana’s Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project on the Federal Permitting Dashboard, a government-wide effort to streamline the federal permitting and review process while increasing transparency.

The action follows an October 2016 memo to federal executive departments and agencies from White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) ordering agencies to make ecosystem restoration a priority, including timely review and permitting of Gulf Coast environmental restoration. The White House memo further identified sediment diversions as the type of complex restoration project capable of delivering significant ecosystem benefits that warranted these extra coordination efforts. 

“I am committed to an aggressive, comprehensive and coordinated strategy to address the urgent decline of Louisiana’s coast, an ongoing emergency which requires swift national attention,” said Gov. Edwards. “The inclusion of the Mid-Barataria on the Federal Permitting Dashboard is a major victory and it means that we will be more efficient and effective in our mission to restore our coast for generations to come.”

The dashboard is just one tool within a larger strategy to facilitate enhanced interagency coordination for any infrastructure project of size, complexity and significance that might experience a lengthy federal environmental review and permitting process.

The inclusion of Mid-Barataria on the Federal Permitting Dashboard is one result of CPRA pushing the process, for continual improvement and interagency coordination, as the state acts with a real sense of urgency to get lynchpin projects implemented as quickly as possible,” stated Johnny Bradberry, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities. “Not only will this allow for a more efficient process, but this action really is unprecedented, as this is the first time a project has been added to Federal Dashboard at the request of a governor,” stated Johnny Bradberry, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities.

CPRA officially submitted its request for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion to be included on the Federal Permitting Dashboard on December 27, 2016 after months of discussions with federal officials on the slow, costly and inefficient process of permitting restoration and protection projects.

The designated lead agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will now be responsible for developing a coordinated project plan (CPP) to include a schedule with deadlines for all federal environmental reviews and authorizations and, to the maximum extent practicable, state reviews and authorizations.  

View the dashboard here: