WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) authored an op-ed in The Times-Picayune in remembrance of Hurricane Katrina on the 13th anniversary of the storm making landfall and causing historic loss of life and damage to Louisiana and neighboring states. He urged Louisianians to be prepared this year and in the future should another storm hit, especially as we enter the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Whip Scalise also highlighted work he has done in Congress to help restore Louisiana’s coastline and strengthen flood protections.

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Remember Katrina, and stay vigilant this storm season

As we mark the 13th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and remember the tragic losses and extreme damage our state suffered, it’s important to ensure we are all prepared for whatever this year’s hurricane season could bring.

While Louisiana has been blessed with a relatively quiet summer so far, we must remain vigilant as we are only now entering the peak of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. As Louisianians, we live in a state filled with flavorful culture, endless outdoor recreation, and great music and food, but we should always be mindful of the perils hurricane season can bring.

Just last year, we saw hurricanes wreak havoc across the Gulf, mid-Atlantic and Caribbean, affecting Louisiana and devastating cities like Houston with historic flooding. While we escaped the worst in 2017, we know all too well the destruction these storms can bring to families and communities. Whether you grew up in south Louisiana and have stories of survival from Hurricane Katrina, or just recently started calling Louisiana “home,” it is imperative that everyone take time to ensure you and your family are prepared for what peak hurricane season could bring.

First, ensure evacuation plans are in order. It’s important that we all have family, friends or a shelter in mind should an emergency evacuation be issued. A communications plan is the next step to guarantee family and friends are aware of your safety. Finally, ensure your home is well-stocked with supplies like flashlights, batteries and first aid kits and is secured by reinforcing your roof, windows and doors.

The best way to avoid costly repairs after a hurricane is to prepare in advance and mitigate against possible damage. Just like your family, local, state and federal officials must continue working together to reinforce Louisiana’s flood protection infrastructure. As your congressman, I am continuing the fight to ensure Louisiana has the resources it needs to be best prepared for natural disasters.

I also have fought for vital federal funds for coastal restoration and flood protection projects. Louisiana’s coastline is our first line of defense against powerful Gulf storms and is critical to protecting our families, communities and the economic health of Louisiana.

Over the past year, I worked with my colleagues to protect funds Louisiana receives from offshore drilling royalties and worked with Sen. Bill Cassidy to include an increase in revenue sharing dollars for our state in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. These revenues provide the funding Louisiana uses to rebuild our coast, and our latest action is expected to provide another $100 million for Louisiana’s coast.

This summer I also helped lead the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) to passage in the House of Representatives, which will authorize additional flood protection in southeast Louisiana. My hope is that my colleagues in the Senate will act soon so we can finalize a WRDA package for President Donald Trump’s signature before the end of this year. Within the past four years, WRDA has been the vehicle to institute necessary reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers and prioritize flood protection projects. Without question, WRDA is critical to our hurricane protection and coastal restoration in Louisiana. Continuing with the reforms from 2014, this WRDA increases transparency in the corps’ permitting process by enhancing local input and cutting bureaucratic red tape plaguing our projects.

In addition to WRDA, earlier this year, Congress passed legislation providing additional funding for areas affected by recent natural disasters, including Louisiana. Since passage, the Trump administration has dedicated more than $2 billion in funding to Louisiana for flood protection studies, construction projects, disaster mitigation and emergency repairs for hurricane protection in areas like Grand Isle and dredging needs along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Improving our ability to weather hurricane season is important not only for Louisiana, but for the entire nation. South Louisiana plays a large role in our national economy through our maritime and oil and gas industries. An investment now in these storm mitigation projects will have huge cost-saving effects later, not just for Louisiana, but for all Americans.