Attorney General OKs Improvements to Private Levee

June 27, 2010

Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell issued Opinion 10-0122 regarding the use of public funds to repair or improve privately owned levees in order to lower the risk of flooding. Statements from the AG opinion read:

“The proposed repair of the private levees promotes the safety and general welfare of the Parish as a whole.”

“It is abundantly clear that, not only does the Plaquemines Parish Government have the authority to conduct levee repairs in ordinary circumstances, but, during a state of emergency, the parish president has the express authority to use all available resources to protect the parish, its people, and its property from damage and to authorize and provide for disaster prevention and preparedness.”

“After years of asking the Council for permission to repair these private levees knowing each year we hold our breath during hurricane season, finally we received the legal opinion we hoped for,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. “This allows the Parish Administration, Parish President, and Parish employees to make needed repairs to these levees to keep Highway 23 and South Plaquemines dry. I wish we had this opinion before Gustav and Ike because we could have done work that may have kept Highway 23 dry and prevented the suffering for South Plaquemines. I’m glad to finally have clarification so we can do what we need to do to keep our parish safe. I knew we had right on our side when we repaired these levees after Gustav and Ike. FEMA approved the work at the time, the state approved it, and now the Attorney General backed it up. I always say when you have right on your side you can do no wrong.”

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