Cooperation on New Accord For a Sustainable Coast Launched

Government, Industry, and Non-Governmental Organizations from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama Focus on issues of Climate, Energy and the Coast

BATON ROUGE, LA — The America’s Energy Coast leadership, gathered at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center today, inaugurated an accord for a sound and sustainable energy future for the four Gulf Coast energy-producing states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. National, regional, and local officials, meeting with energy and conservation representatives, sought common ground for energy political for the region, aimed at sustaining the coast’s economic, cultural, and environmental resources.

The long-term goal is to unite the region in raising awareness in Washington of the necessary resources to protect and sustain the coast. The program, convened by the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) in association with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the Department of Natural Resources, and Louisiana State University, is the latest regional effort by the AWF to establish the Gulf Coast energy-producing states as valued national assets recognized for energy and(ecological sustainability. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) opened up the morning discussion by speaking to the importance of cooperation of the member states of Americas Energy Coast to build policy solutions for domestic energy and ecological sustainability for the region. “I am so pleased to serve as co-chair of this initiative, which brings together a diverse group of interests who should be recognized as the nation moves forward with its energy policy.

Breaux said the regional initiative is critical to sustaining the fragile Gulf Coast.

“Building regional consensus on priorities for cooperation, policy, and action in the Gulf will support the America’s Energy Coast Accord for a Sustainable Gulf Coast, which is designed to secure the region’s assets with a focus on issues of climate, energy, and the coast, said John Breaux, former U. S. Senator from Louisiana. The one-day Forum entitled, A New Sustainability for the Future of the Gulf Coast, was moderated by former US Senator John Breaux, and convened leaders including H. Dale Hall, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Mark Hurley, President of Shell Pipeline Company; Gerald E. Galloway, Professor, Glenn L. Martin Institute, University of Maryland; Sean O’Keefe, Chancellor of LSU; and Randall Luthi, Director of the U.S. Department of the Interior Minerals Management Service; among many others.

“We have learned in recent years the critical importance of regional cooperation. Evidence is mounting that the Gulf Coast’s sustainable future requires collaboration across state lines, industry, and governments. The need to rally together to send a unified message to the nation and to the world of our regions ecological and economic interdependence is paramount now more than ever,” said William Walker, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

Issue areas highlighted at the Forum include economic, ecological, societal, and engineering issues surrounding sustainability for the Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi — an area known as America’s Energy Coast.

“We welcome our friends and associates from Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. While they are currently smaller in number, over the course of the coming months, we hope to equalize our regional representation,” said R. King Milling, chairman of the America’s WETLAND Foundation. “Future meetings will be held around the four states as we grow awareness beyond the early work here today.”

More than 140 policy leaders representing coastal constituencies in the four Gulf energy-producing states have joined the Honorary Leadership Council of the AEC. Annually the America’s WETLAND Foundation will convene two forums to focus on policy and solutions, respectively. The early work of the America’s Energy Coast initiative will build a consensus around principles for a sustainable Gulf Coast. Beyond elected and industry leaders, the project will convene leaders in science, engineering, academia, conservationists, community, and culture in its ongoing policy development, gathering of best practice models, and information dissemination.

“We believe that sustainability and global climate change are vital issues for the future of the Gulf Coast. We look forward to working on the America’s Energy Coast Accord for a Sustainable Gulf Coast,” said Vicki Arroyo, Director of Policy Analysis at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.