Economic survey shows diversions will be a big boon to local economies

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A report says coastal southeastern parishes could see significant economic benefits from the planned construction of the mid-Barataria and mid-Breton sediment diversion projects.

The study, by Dr. Loren Scott and Associates, says the projects will generate three billion dollars in regional sales and support 4,000 new jobs. Restore the Mississippi Delta Director Steve Cochran says it’s a win-win.

“This actually is one of those where we get to spend money to protect ourselves, and it’s like that phrase, we’re doing well by doing good,” says Cochran.  “We’re doing good work to restore the coast and it is going to be good for the economy as well.”

Residents will see an 809 million dollar increase in earnings across Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans, and Jefferson Parishes as a result of the projects.  The diversions are being constructed in Plaquemines.

The two projects will cost 1.8 billion dollars to complete.  Cochran says the investments are substantial, the likes of which we haven’t seen in this state in half a century.

“It not only is a major public works project, really something we have not seen since the days of the New Deal, it really is just the tip of the iceberg,” Cochran said.  

Cochran says the economic benefits are plus, but first and foremost the projects are an investment to ensure that south Louisiana remains in existence.

“We have to reconnect this river to the land that it originally built if we want to sustain that land,” says Cochran. “We have that choice to make or we can plan to begin moving further north.”

The study looked at the economic impact of the projects from 2021 to 2027, the years in which they will be built.