State Sen. Fred Mills, (R-Parks), filed a bill this legislative session to improve waterways in the Pelican State.
The Port of Iberia is one of his greatest concerns, because of the jobs and revenue it provides his district. The bill would form a coastal advisory board and hopefully relieve depth issues in the port.
"Our channel depth is twelve feet that limits us to a fabricated package of about four thousand tons," said Roy Pontiff, Executive Director of the port.
A fabricated package or module could be anything from living quarters to a generator package; all the things you see on top of a drilling platform. Pontiff says the channels in the port need to be at least four to six feet deeper than they are now to stay competitive in the gulf's oil and gas industry.
"The industry is moving into deeper Gulf of Mexico and the deeper the drilling takes place the larger the modules are," said Pontiff.
The port underwent a federal review in 2000 and officials at the port are working with the Army Corp. of Engineers to find federal dollars. Pontiff says 75 percent of the money will come from the federal government and 25 percent from the state. Sen. Mill's bill would jumpstart the review process for the state; it's not asking for state money.
"You get an authorization and then once you authorize you go for appropriations," said Pontiff.