Email Discussion of Cong. Graves letter to Gov Edwards re: Comite River Diversion Canal
When Paul Sawyer Chief of Staff at Congressman Garret Graves asks if any FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funds or any HUD Community Development Block Grant funds can be used on the Congressmans Comite Diversion Canal the efforts are great.

By Murray Wennerlund published 4-11-2019 updated 1-15-2022

From: Sawyer, Paul []
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 10:59 AM
To: Johnny Bradberry <> Roland Dartez ( <> John Gallagher <> '' <> Adam Knapp <> '' <> '' <> Michael Olivier ( <> Don Pierson (Don.Pierson@LA.GOV) <Don.Pierson@LA.GOV> '' <> J ROGERS POPE (JRPOPE@COX.NET) <JRPOPE@COX.NET> Sean Reilly ( <> James A. Richardson ( <> Lafayette ( <> '' <> Mike Strain ( <> '' <> Shawn Wilson ( <> 'Jacqui Vines' <> '' <> 'Jimmy Durbin' <>

Subject: Cong. Graves letter to Gov Edwards re: Comite River Diversion Canal

Dear Members of the Restore Louisiana Task Force,

Please find the attached letter from Cong. Garret Graves to Governor John Bel Edwards regarding the Comite River Diversion Canal. If you have any questions or would like to speak to Cong. Graves about this or any other matter, please let us know.


Paul Sawyer | Chief of Staff
Office of Congressman Garret Graves (LA-06)
202-225-3901 (DC) | 225-442-1731 (LA) |


From: Adam Knapp <>
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 12:18 PM
To: Sawyer, Paul
Cc: Johnny Bradberry Shawn Wilson Pat Forbes

Subject: RE: Cong. Graves letter to Gov Edwards re: Comite River Diversion Canal


I asked questions at today's Restore LA meeting about this letter and project. Two specific questions.

  1. Can CDBG and HMGP be used for the Comite project?
  2. Can we as a Flood Task Force direct our infrastructure subcommittee to determine the steps necessary to provide funding to the Comite project, and set in motion those steps should we be able to reallocate the CDBG funds later, or allocate the available HMGP funds in creative ways to complete the project?

The answer to #1 from staff was, on HMGP, no, it cannot be used according to the FEMA letter from two months ago. The answer on CDBG was yes but no more than $250,000 in USACE project match, according to the Federal Register that set further restrictions on the funds above and beyond any guidance in the Congressional Appropriation language itself. There are other restrictions from HUD that currently may prevent the ability for CDBG to be used, including the LMI restrictions, a requirement that allocations are able to show their direct impact on homeowner recovery, and that the projects being funded will be fully completed with the sources of funds provided.

The answer on #2 was that it would seem like a good initiative for our Infrastructure subcommittee to dig into the costs for the project and the restrictions on funds to seek a creative solution, if there is one to be found. It would seem like the Infrastructure committee of the Task Force can evaluate how each of the restrictions on HMGP or CDBG could be removed or worked through to enable access to those sources of funds for this project. It would be useful also for the project to have an updated cost analysis, as well as a reevaluation of the cost-benefit of the project as new, non-USACE sources are considered/provided.

We also heard from Larry Bankston's presentation that $31M is identified toward the $45M need for the next major project component for utilities and bridge projects. That immediate gap of $15M might be a good starting point for our Infrastructure Task Force to work on sources of funds.

I think we may also need to consider federal action to change guidance for HUD and FEMA that they are given direction on the use of these two sources of funds as eligible for covering project costs in collaboration with USACE appropriations.

Thank you for your letter and push for this important project.
I hope our committee can provide leadership toward its completion.

Adam Knapp

Adam Knapp
President and CEO, BRAC
225-278-3708 (c)


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