U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. and John Kennedy and U.S. Representatives Steve Scalise , Garret Graves, Cedric Richmond, Clay Higgins, Ralph Abraham and Mike Johnson today urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to begin the process of implementing a federal fisheries disaster declaration due to the opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Opening of the spillway is causing hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of fresh water to pour into Lake Pontchartrain each second, impacting various forms of aquatic life that are crucial to Louisiana’s seafood industry.
If the commerce secretary makes a determination to declare a fishery disaster, based on a NOAA Fisheries evaluation, Congress will then be allowed to appropriate funds for fishery disaster relief.
“The spillway remains open, and the consequences are being felt by the recreational and commercial sectors in South Louisiana. Assistance is critical to address current and future impacts,” said the delegation in the letter. “We urge you to use your authority under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act to begin an immediate review of impacts to Louisiana’s fishery resources and local economies.”
Read the full text of the Louisiana delegation’s letter.