Congress Advances Coastal Restoration Projects in Louisiana via Supplemental Aid Bill
Conservation groups applaud Louisiana’s governor and congressional delegation for supporting ecosystem restoration
(WASHINGTON – Feb. 12, 2018) Late last week, Congress passed a supplemental aid bill that funds relief and recovery efforts across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean following the devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. In addition to this much-needed disaster relief funding, the bill included a provision at the request of Governor Edwards, spearheaded by Louisiana’s congressional delegation, that supports three large-scale ecosystem restoration projects from the state’s Coastal Master Plan – the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion and the Calcasieu Ship Channel Salinity Control Measures. The measure addresses a significant permitting challenge for these projects under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and makes it clear that the purpose of the projects is to ensure the health and stability of the marine ecosystem.
Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of national and local conservation groups working together to address Louisiana’s land loss crisis, has been advocating for these three priority projects for a decade. The coalition issued the following statement on the bill:
“This provision addresses a significant obstacle to getting these restoration projects underway. Its passage will allow for swifter action to restore one of America’s most vital and threatened ecosystems.
“Louisiana faces a severe, existential crisis in the form of the ongoing loss of our coastal wetlands. Without decisive effort, the state risks losing up to 4,000 square miles over the next 50 years. That would result in complete ecosystem collapse and threaten millions of people, wildlife and nationally-significant industries.
“We thank Senator Cassidy and Congressmen Graves and Richmond, along with Senator Kennedy and Congressmen Scalise, Higgins, Johnson and Abraham for their commitment to advancing coastal restoration. In a time of partisan gridlock, we are encouraged that coastal restoration in Louisiana remains a truly bipartisan issue.
“We are also grateful to Governor Edwards and his staff for their diligent efforts to restore Louisiana’s coast before it’s too late. “
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, email@example.com
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, email@example.com
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, firstname.lastname@example.org
Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces an ongoing and severe land loss crisis, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at mississippiriverdelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.