For Immediate Release: August 13, 2008
Contact: Chris Macaluso
Louisiana Spending Plan Wins Praise from Environmental Leaders
Please Note: Reprinted with Permission from Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sharyn Stein, Environmental Defense Fund, 202-572-3396, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maura Wood, National Wildlife Federation, 225-205-2804, email@example.com
Paul Kemp, National Audubon Society, 225-768-0820, firstname.lastname@example.org
Groups Say Proposal Will Fund a Healthy Balance of Protection, Restoration
(Washington, DC - August 13, 2008) Louisiana's new plan to spend $300 million on hurricane protection and coastal restoration projects is winning praise from the country's leading environmental advocacy groups.
The plan was announced today by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA). The conservation leaders say the plan has a healthy balance of funding, with more than $100 million of the available money set aside for efforts to restore Louisiana's wetlands and coastal areas - the state's first line of defense against hurricanes.
"We have always said that, in order to keep Louisiana safe, we need both to strengthen the levees we have now and restore the wetlands and coastal areas that serve as our natural hurricane barriers," said Paul Harrison, Coastal Louisiana Project Manager for Environmental Defense Fund. "This new plan fulfills both of those priorities. We congratulate Governor Jindal, and everyone who worked with him to develop the plan, for a job well done."
The CPRA plan directs the use of $300 million in surplus state funds, including $110 million for wetlands and coastal restoration projects. The plan also includes $100 million for the state's matching funding to build modern, 100-year levees for New Orleans.
"The state has done a great job with this proposal, but now the federal government needs to step up to the plate and provide its share of the funding that is already authorized for restoration projects," added Harrison. "We will continue to work with the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get large-scale restoration projects ready for funding and construction in upcoming federal and state budgets."
Environmental leaders were especially pleased to see money designated for several projects that they identified as priorities.
"This plan shows a substantial commitment to projects that will allow us to restore wetlands by using sediment that would otherwise have gone to waste," said Maura Wood, Senior Program Manager of the Coastal Louisiana Restoration for the National Wildlife Federation. "These projects will restore the Mississippi River's capacity to build land and allow us to take advantage of storm protection provided by our natural resources."
Environmentalists praised the plan's substantial commitment to building new and improved ways to get fresh water and sediment to the wetlands, so the areas can survive and grow. Those proposals include $7 million for designing and engineering a new sediment diversion at Myrtle Grove, $30 million for enhancing operation of the existing Canaervon and Davis Pond diversions, $20 million for constructing a diversion to send freshwater down Bayou Lafourche, and $35 million for using sediment pipelines and barges to build wetlands. Environmentalists also praised plans to restore barrier islands.
"The barrier islands act as a 'speed bump' for storm surge and wave energy," said Paul Kemp, Vice President of the Gulf Coast Initiative for the National Audubon Society. "Louisiana loses the equivalent of 32 football fields' worth of wetlands every day, and that includes many of our barrier islands. This leaves coastal communities vulnerable to the full wrath of hurricanes. The new funding will help us rebuild those 'speed bumps' and bring back our first line of defense against storms."
For more information about Louisiana's coastal restoration and hurricane protection efforts, please contact Chris Macaluso at (225)- 342-3968 or by email at email@example.com.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. For the first time in Louisiana's history, this single state authority will integrate coastal restoration and hurricane protection by marshalling the expertise and resources of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Development, and other state agencies, to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana's coast. Working with federal, state and local political subdivisions, including levee districts, the CPRA will work to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect our communities, the nation's critical energy infrastructure, and our bountiful natural resources for generations to come. The CPRA of Louisiana was established by Act 8 of the 1st Extraordinary Session of 2005.