Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks today announced a formal agreement for the two parishes to work together on regional drainage issues. The agreement will end a three-year legal dispute between the two parishes blocking a major levee project.
The parish presidents have been meeting over the past several months to discuss issues critical to both, and to negotiate the Laurel Ridge levee proposal, which would reduce flooding in Ascension but which Livingston residents feared would cause them to flood. Livingston filed a lawsuit against Ascension, the Pontchartrain Levee District and other involved parties in 2018 to stop the project.
“Stormwater does not recognize borders,” says Cointment, in a prepared statement. “The best way to solve our drainage issues is by working together.”
The agreement will increase communication between the two parishes and allow them to work together to maximize the benefit of their portion of $1.2 billion in flood relief money from Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Funding that Louisiana was awarded after the 2016 flood, and to be used on the levee project.
Ricks says in a prepared statement that part of why he entered the agreement was because Gov. John Bel Edwards assured him there would be funding to complete flood mitigation work along La. 22 that would protect Livingston Parish from any of the adverse effects of the Laurel Ridge project.
Cointment praised the leadership and assistance of Edwards, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, the Pontchartrain Levee District, Ascension council members and Ricks for facilitating the meetings.