Environmental Regulation In Louisiana

Breaux Act: History


Louisiana loses one acre of wetland every thirty-five minutes (LACoast 2005)! This is due to subsidence, oil and gas exploration, the levees on the lower Mississippi River, and other factors. This loss of an ecosystem results in economic loss for the state, loss of livelihood for individuals, and is partly responsible for the death of the Cajun culture (Tidwell, 2003). There are many state and local efforts to re mediate these effects, but the problem is a federal one. The Louisiana wetlands are historically created by the draining of the Mississippi river onto its delta. The Mississippi river watershed is the largest watershed in the nation, containing "all or part of 31 states."(USGS, 1994). The Breaux Act is the single largest federal legislation to date that addresses the coastal wetland loss in Louisiana, although its funding is not nearly enough to fully solve the land loss issue.

The Breaux Act

The Breaux Act, which is formally called The Coast Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) was authorized as a bill in the United States Senate on November 29th 1990 allowed for federal funding to go towards wetland protection and restoration (US Code Title 16, Chapter 59A, §3952-§3956, 2004). The bill is called “The Breaux Act” after John B. Breaux, a Louisiana Senator who zealously fought its passing because of his, and Louisiana’s growing concern for their disappearing ecosystem. CWPPRA set up guidelines for a task force which would plan and prioritize restoration projects that it would then present to the Senate funding committee. In 2005, before he left office, John Breaux pushed for the re-authorization of CWPPRA and it was signed again, allowing for funding until the year 2019 (Bordeau, 2004). Up to 70 million dollars is allocated to projects enhancing and restoring Louisiana wetlands although to date around 45 million annually is typical. There is also a federal requirement for Louisiana to match a portion a funding which is achieved through the Louisiana Wetland Trust Fund, established in 1989 through State Act 6 (Steyer et. al, 2000).




John Berlinger Breaux

www.dkosopedia.com/ index.php/John_Breaux


The bill itself is organized in five parts as follows:

  • Priority Louisiana coastal wetlands restoration projects - layout of the overall plan, includes CWPPRA objectives and outlines the formulation of a priority project list based on these objectives.

  • Louisiana coastal wetlands conservation planning - creates the need for an agreement with the office of the Governor over a conservation plan . Included in this need is the provision that allows modification.

  • National coastal wetlands conservation grants - defines the sources and parameters of certain federal grants, such as that provided by the National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan. This section also mandates an amount of cost-sharing, something achieved through LA Act 6.

  • Distribution of appropriations - this is the crux of the monitory aspect of CWPPRA explicitly defining all the funding possibilities and requirements.

  • General Provisions - short section containing a release which gives "additional authority for Corps of Engineers."











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