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Corps Grants Emergency Dredging Permit for Barrier Islands

Today, May 27, 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District Commander Col. Al Lee offered an emergency permit to the state of Louisiana for portions of their barrier island plan.

“After careful consideration of the available information, and working closely with the state of Louisiana, the coastal parishes, and our federal partners, I have offered the permit under Emergency Permit NOD-20, with special conditions, authorizing the state to proceed with six reaches, E3 and E4 to the east of the Mississippi River, and W8, W9, W10, and W11 to the west,” said Col. Al Lee, commander of the New Orleans District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “These areas have been identified as critical locations where greater immediate benefit is likely to be achieved with minimal adverse disruption of coastal circulation patterns.”

The Corps' regulatory permit compliance program will assure that the 33 conditions of the permit will effectively carry out the intent of the state's project. If necessary, modifications to the permit can be made as conditions evolve.

The request was processed under the emergency permit procedures of New Orleans District's NOD-20.

The New Orleans District received the emergency permit request from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana at 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 11 for work on the Chandeleur Islands and also on all barrier islands from East Grand Terre Island and eastward to Sandy Point. The permit was requested “to enhance the capability of the islands to reduce the inland movement of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” as per the original permit request cover letter.

In accordance with the NEPA process, which must be followed even in emergency situations, we solicited interagency comments on the state's permit application. Those agency comments were provided to the state, which then submitted a revised plan on May 14. The revised plan extended the reach westward to Timbalier Island and removed the near shore borrow area along Chandeleur Islands. The Corps again solicited interagency comments on the state's revision. Following discussions between the state and the Corps regarding technical analyses, the state submitted additional information on May 21 and May 24.

Authorization under NOD-20 is temporary and does not replace the normal permit approvals. Within 30 days, a full Department of the Army permit request must be submitted.

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