FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Since 2005 Hurricane Season, CPRA Spearheads Coastal Restoration, ProtectionBATON ROUGE --
Since the devastating 2005 hurricane season and the onslaught of Louisiana by Rita and Katrina, the state of Louisiana has taken unprecedented steps in its efforts to protect and restore its already disappearing coastline.
In the wake of the storms, the Louisiana legislature responded to the overwhelming need to provide better protection for its coastal communities and to restore the state's already fragile and deteriorating coastal wetlands in November of that year by creating the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).
The CPRA was charged, for the first time in Louisiana's history, with integrating and overseeing all coastal restoration and hurricane protection efforts. It was also given the task of creating a comprehensive plan that would serve as the overarching, conceptual vision for rebuilding the state's coastal wetlands and protecting its infrastructure that could be adapted as technology improves and as forces of nature continue to reshape the state's coastal areas.
"The state continues to work on full integration of the complex efforts of coastal protection and restoration, bringing together state agencies, examining existing policies, and establishing the path forward as we embark on the largest public works project in our nation's history," Sidney Coffee, CPRA Chairperson, said. "The work we do in the coming months and years will chart the course for how we rebuild south Louisiana and will determine our ability to continue to provide America with the benefits it derives from our coastal landscape."
Many unprecedented actions during the past two years have come under the guidance and recommendations of the CPRA, including:
• Completion of a Comprehensive Master Plan for the protection and restoration of coastal Louisiana - "Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection: Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. Plan was written by CPRA's Integrated Planning Team with months of public input and review, using best science and engineering practices as basis. Plan unanimously approved by the State legislature in May, 2007.
• Reorganization and supervision of levee districts in the coastal zone of Louisiana.
• Passage of two amendments to state constitution by Louisiana voters that dedicate revenue directly and exclusively to coastal protection and restoration efforts. Amendments dedicate all revenues the state receives from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas drilling as well as 20 percent of the securitization of the state's tobacco settlement.
• Working with Congressional Delegation to secure a steady stream of revenue for coastal restoration and protection projects through the passage of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 which mandates the sharing of 37.5 percent of the royalties collected from OCS oil and gas exploration with the four producing Gulf Coast States. Louisiana will receive the majority since it hosts the most onshore oil and gas infrastructure. An estimated $200 million will be available over the first decade of the program with as much as $600 million given annually starting in 2017.
• Creation of Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Financing Corporation during the legislative session of 2007. The Corporation will be able to sell bonds in the short term to generate money to begin building restoration and protection projects based on future revenue from the Energy Security Act of 2007.
• Creation of Louisiana Coastal Impact Assistance Plan (CIAP). Louisiana is one of seven coastal states that will receive money through the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that gives money to oil producing states to offset the impact of hosting onshore infrastructure. Louisiana was the first state to submit its plan and approval by the Minerals Management Service is expected this fall. CIAP will provide more than $500 million dollars to Louisiana over the next four years to be used to build coastal restoration projects. Louisiana is currently building projects with CIAP money. All CIAP projects are part of the larger vision of the state's Master Plan.
• Ongoing work with the Army Corps of Engineers on writing of the Corps' Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Plan (LaCPR). Congress mandated the Corps to develop a master plan similar to the one developed by the CPRA that illustrates a larger, overall vision for restoring and protecting Louisiana's coast. First draft of the LaCPR plan is scheduled to be presented to Congress by December 2007. Corps assures CPRA that state Master Plan will be used as vision for LaCPR plan.
• The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and Development and Governor's Office of Coastal Activities in the final stages of developing an MOU and implementation process for Master Plan.
For more information about the CPRA and the Comprehensive Master Plan, please contact Chris Macaluso in the Louisiana Governor's Office of Coastal Activities at (225) 342-3968 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or, log onto www.lacpra.org.
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.