By Don Molino, Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network
During his report on the Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain said during President Trump’s first address to congress some one trillion dollars was being requested for spending on infrastructure which includes expanding “our ability to move ships up and down through our ports” including those along the Mississippi River.
“We have to move big ships up and down the river which helps our balance of trade and it brings hard dollars to the US,” said Strain. “We’re going to be very involved in the discussions about trade. Trade is critical.”
The commissioner also pointed out Trump has ordered The Waters of the US policy to be replaced.
“We’ve been fighting the WOTUS Rule, which interprets the Clean Water Act…which is basically a jurisdictional over-reach of the federal government into areas that had previously been the domain of state governments,” according to Strain.
The big argument against the WOTUS Rule is “you would have someone in Washington, D.C., basically having oversight over almost every square inch of Louisiana.” Strain also serves of Commissioner of Soil and Water Conservation.
Dr. Strain and his staff continue working on next fiscal year’s budget and it doesn’t look pretty.
“We’ve been told to expect an additional 2% cut in our state general funds and we’re also looking at a 3% cut in our dedicated funds,” Strain said. That 3% cut in dedicated funds would be used to help pay off state debt with the remainder being remanded to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.