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Locals meet to discuss preparations

Forecasters are predicting above-average storm activity this hurricane season as the official start of the season approaches next week. And meteorologists are monitoring a disturbance already in the Caribbean. The Port of Morgan City hosted the annual Hurricane Preparedness Meeting Wednesday at its Emergency Operations Center. Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30. Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office, spoke during the meeting. “We’re expecting this season to be more active than normal again,” Erickson said. Forecasters are expecting a distur- bance that’s in the Caribbean to develop into a “tropical system” this weekend or early next week in the Gulf of Mexico, Erickson said.

The Atchafalaya River Bar Channel should be properly dredged and open to vessel traffic by early 2019. Many people in the Tri-City area’s maritime industry have been awaiting that news for several years. The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission met Monday. Millions of dollars in additional funds to dredge waterways in the Port of Morgan City’s district potentially will ensure the channel is dredged to its congressionally authorized depth, said Tim Connell, Atchafalaya region manager for the U.S.Army Corps of  Engineers, during Monday’s meeting.  “This is definitely the most optimistic I’ve been since I’ve been involved,” Connell said.

Officials with the Port of Morgan City and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working with businesses to ensure all of the tonnage that passes through the port is accounted for so that the port can receive adequate long-term funding. The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission met Monday. Tom Podany, director of the Corps’ waterborne commerce statistics division, was in Morgan City Monday for a stakeholders meeting to discuss the reporting of tonnage that travels through the port waterways.

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U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins’ No. 1 priority in Congress is to ensure south Louisiana’s ports get the dredging funds they were promised and can be economic engines for the region, he said Monday. Higgins, R-Lafayette, visited the Port of Morgan City’s Government Emergency Operations Center for a stakeholders meeting with officials in the area. Port Executive Director Raymond “Mac” Wade spent the day with Higgins showing him the Morgan City area and explaining the economic boost that having region’s waterways adequately dredged could provide. Higgins, who took office in January, said he’s studied the challenges associated with channel dredging “and the ridiculous failure of the federal government to live up to its mandate” and promise to south Louisiana. He represents Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers areas from Morgan City to Lake Charles.

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U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy called Monday for decreasing regulations on industry to boost Louisiana’s economy along with making reforms to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and health care. Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, had a town hall meeting Monday at the Port of Morgan City’s Government Emergency Operations Center. The country has to have an economy that creates better jobs for working class families.

By: ZACHARY FITZGERALD
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Port of Morgan City leaders say they are relieved to have a roughly one-mile section of the Atchafalaya River dredged and back open to vessel traffic. They are now focusing on a dredge demonstration downriver that they hope will allow officials to keep a 12-mile stretch of the waterway open year-round. Emergency dredging in the Atchafalaya River to remove a 6,000-foot-long plug of sand is complete, officials said during Monday’s Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission meeting.

Affiliations

National Waterways Conference Gulf Ports Assoc of the Americas Louisiana Industrial Develpment Esecutives Assoc Ports Association of Louisiana Gulf Intracostal Canal Association Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals US Coast Guard Houma

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