Request to President Could Expedite Permitting for Restoration Efforts
The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today applauds Governor John Bel Edwards’ declaration of emergency for Louisiana’s coast, an action called for at the summit on February 16, 2017, hosted by AWF and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).
Opening the February summit, AWF’s board chairman, King Milling urged citizens, government leaders, businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to recognize a continuous storm destroying Louisiana’s coast. “The lower Mississippi will be threatened by future storms that will materially impact international trade and commerce, which has been the cornerstone of wealth and community vitality from Arkansas to Minnesota. These conditions constitute the very definition of emergency,” Milling said.
The Governor’s emergency declaration would allow state agencies to streamline the implementing of coastal protection efforts, expediting restoration projects and would make the case for more flexibility within the federal regulatory process that so often slows down the permitting process.
Milling said today, “The state’s 2017 master plan is now before the legislature and holds the key to implementation of large-scale projects urgently needed along our coast. This declaration of emergency could greatly speed up the process and eliminate delays in permitting for some of these crucial projects. We urge President Trump to act on this declaration now. This would give us the means to expedite Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts that is important to the entire nation.”
“Environmental, navigation, energy and transportation assets housed in Louisiana’s wetlands are gravely threatened by the continued loss of the state’s coast and the U.S. depends upon them for its energy and economic security,” Milling said. “Louisiana has pledged to spend every available dollar to offset this deterioration as set forth in the master plan. Every dollar that has been dedicated for this purpose must be used to enhance large scale projects and programs and must incorporate both restoration and protection efforts.”
The February summit on the national significance of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and also convened by AWF and the CPRA, followed two leadership roundtables convened by AWF and CPRA held this past fall where topics surrounding Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan were the focus of discussions aimed at making the master plan operational and adequately funded.
The summit drew panels of well known coastal leaders who have been advocating for wetlands restoration for more than a decade. Speakers and panelists included Governor John Bel Edwards, former Governor Kathleen Blanco, CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry, and a host of renowned scientists and coastal experts from throughout the U.S., community and political eaders, NGOs, agency officials, private landowners, and leaders of business and industry.