Louisiana News Briefs

Coastal advocate: Federal water bill could save Louisiana $600 million

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved and sent back to the Senate the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which includes a provision to allow Louisiana to renegotiate the payment agreement for a long-delayed federally constructed hurricane protection system in southeast Louisiana, Congressman Garret Graves said.

“WRDA is incredibly important to Louisiana and final passage would provide meaningful relief from nearly $600 million in unfair interest accrual during a decade of delays in the construction of the HSDRRS system that protects five coastal parishes,” Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Chip Kline said.

The WRDA includes several other projects Louisiana’s congressional delegation sought, including a study of lower Mississippi River management that Graves calls “transformational.”

Chemical company considers $1 billion investment in Ascension Parish

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. is studying the feasibility of building a methyl methacrylate manufacturing complex in Geismar, with a final investment expected by mid-2022.

Louisiana Economic Development says the proposed project, expected to include a $1 billion capital investment, would create 125 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000 and another 669 new indirect jobs, for a total of nearly 800 new jobs in the Capital Region and surrounding areas.

“We look forward to working with MCC to attract this permanent investment and the accompanying quality jobs to our state,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.

Methyl methacrylate is a building block for acrylic-based polymers found in products such as paints, adhesives, glazes, lighting displays, building panels, bath fixtures, flat-screen monitors, and clear acrylic barriers for virus protection.

State association moving state football championship from New Orleans to Natchitoches

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association is moving the annual Football Prep Classic state championship games from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said Tuesday.

The change was made because of “COVID-19 capacity restrictions, financial responsibilities, and the risk of cancellation,” he said.

The Superdome has hosted the event since 1981.

“We are saddened to be leaving the Superdome this year, but look forward to our return in 2021,” Bonine said.

Louisiana state senator to lead national Republican committee

The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, a caucus of the Republican State Leadership Committee, announced Tuesday that Louisiana Senate Majority Leader Sharon Hewitt will serve as the committee’s chairwoman for the 2021 election cycle.

“The RSLC and RLCC have worked tirelessly over the years to recruit and train the best leaders across the country, and I’m proud to lead the movement for state legislators this cycle,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt, an engineering executive, is the first female Republican senate majority leader in Louisiana history. She also chairs the Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee, which will be overseeing redistricting efforts in the state.

The RLCC’s primary stated mission is gaining Republican control of more state legislative chambers by targeting national resources to support winnable local races.

— David Jacobs | The Center Square