The Sewerage and Water Board plant in New Orleans, pictured Aug. 18, 2022. Credit: Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator

With no discussion, the Louisiana Bond Commission gave final approval Thursday to $45 million in state financing for a critical infrastructure project in New Orleans. It’s the same deal that Attorney General Jeff Landry and other Republican officials on the commission stalled for two months after city leaders declared they wouldn’t prioritize enforcement of the state’s abortion ban.

Landry, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and state House Republicans who sit on the commission twice voted to reject preliminary approval for $45 million in state bond support to construct a power station for the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. The agency wants to build a new power plant to replace archaic, unreliable turbines that power the city’s drainage and drinking water systems. The project has been touted as a game-changer in New Orleans’ efforts to combat more frequent flooding and boil advisories.

“It is my belief that a parish or municipality should not benefit from the hard-working taxpayers of this State while ignoring laws validly enacted by the people through their representatives,” Landry said in a July letter sent to Treasurer John Schroder and bond commission members.

Schroder, a Republican who chairs the bond commission, opposed Landry’s stance. The attorney general has announced his candidacy for governor next year, and Schroder is considering entry into the race. 

The bond commission is not in the habit of singling out local projects the Louisiana Legislature has already vetted and approved for state funding, Schroder argued in July and August when Landry declared his opposition to financing the S&WB project.

Landry eventually was the only person on the bond commission against the deal, which received preliminary approval last month. When it came up for final approval Thursday, it was lumped in with more than a dozen other projects on the agenda that received approval without opposition.

The power plant project was originally projected to cost more than $70 million.

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Greg LaRose | Louisiana Illuminator

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government...