Senators refuse to restrict use of coastal fund

A Louisiana House-approved measure to limit the use of Louisiana’s coastal protection fund has stalled in the Senate.

Senators on the Finance Committee voted 6-2 Tuesday against House Bill 490 by Republican Rep. Brett Geymann, of Lake Charles.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has used the fund as a way to circumvent restrictions on surplus dollars and other patchwork funds.

He has moved restricted cash into the protection fund to meet a requirement that the money be used on one-time projects. Then, he takes a similar amount from the fund to plug into the state’s operating budget.

Critics say the transfers undermine the purpose of the fund and threaten to siphon off dollars intended for coastal restoration work in the future.