U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) Tuesday confirmed that the City of Gulfport will be able to use almost $1.6 million to repair piers and jetties damaged by Hurricane Isaac in 2012, work that has languished because of bureaucratic environmental hurdles.
Cochran, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) to resolve a stalemate involving federal environmental assessments and the obligation of federal disaster recovery money to repair damaged pier and jetties in Gulfport.
“Gulfport and other coastal communities understand the benefits that fishing and observation piers offer to residents and visitors. The obligation of these funds will help the city recover those benefits,” Cochran said.
“I appreciate F.E.M.A. for working with me, members of the delegation, Mayor Hewes and others to reach an understanding on the scope of the work to be done and need to finally move forward with these recovery projects,” he said. “I hope we can reach similar agreements on other outstanding disaster recovery projects for our other Gulf Coast communities.”
In all, F.E.M.A. has approved $1.19 million to restore the City of Gulfport’s existing West Side, Ken Combs, Moses and Urie piers. Another $400,821 is being obligated for Ken Combs, Moses and Urie jetty repairs. The structures sustained significant damage in Hurricane Issac, which hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in late August 2012.
City officials asked Cochran to help intercede with F.E.M.A. regarding environmental clearances sought by various federal resource agencies on the pier and jetty repairs. Following the hurricane, the city worked with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to certify construction and conservation methods that take into account critical habitats and endangered species.