GNO, Inc. announces launch of Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy
By Elizabeth Skree, Communications Manager, Environmental Defense Fund
Last Friday, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) announced the launch of the Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy (CCRE). CCRE is a coalition of Louisiana businesses and business leaders who are advocating for sustainable restoration of Louisiana’s disappearing coastal wetlands, deltas, rivers and coastline. This new business coalition will support an integrated three-legged framework of coastal restoration, appropriate structural flood mitigation and non-structural flood mitigation. The group includes representatives from a wide variety of business and industry sectors including banking, energy, real estate, entertainment, communications, navigation and manufacturing.
Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost nearly 1,900 square miles of wetlands, and the state continues losing land at the rate of one football field every hour. This loss is attributed to a host of causes, including oil and gas exploration, leveeing of the Mississippi River, hurricanes, coastal erosion and subsidence.
Louisiana’s land loss crisis is not just an environmental problem – it is an economic crisis. Industries, businesses and communities in Louisiana depend on the delta for protection from storms and for a sustainable future. Thankfully, there are solutions to address and resolve this land loss crisis. And just as many causes contribute to Louisiana’s land loss problem, it will take a combination of scientific solutions to resolve it.
Restoring the Mississippi River Delta will not only restore thousands of acres of protective wetlands and habitat, but it will also protect Louisiana businesses, cities and infrastructure. It will also create new and sustain existing jobs in the region. Find out more about how coastal restoration protects industries and creates economic growth at ourcoastoureconomy.org.
CCRE’s mission is to:
- Promote the business case for coastal restoration in Louisiana
- Maximize RESTORE Act funding and other federal funds that are allocated to Louisiana
- Ensure that RESTORE Act funding and other federal funds are spent on their intended purposes
- Leverage RESTORE Act funding and other federal funding to direct other revenue streams
- Create opportunities to engage local businesses and workforce in implementation
“Water is the existential issue for Southeast Louisiana,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Our region has a take-it-or-leave-it opportunity to make strategic investments in the environment today that will ensure continued economic growth and opportunity tomorrow, and CCRE will help ensure this happens.”
“Partnerships such as these allow the state to engage business interests and other stakeholders so that we can work together to achieve our goals of restoring and protecting this valuable resource, coastal Louisiana,” said Jerome Zeringue, Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
CCRE is composed of a diverse group of CEOs and executives from the Greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Terrebonne-Lafourche regions. Members include:
- Marty Mayer, President & CEO, Stirling Properties (CCRE Chair)
- Justin Augustine, Regional Vice President, Veolia
- Dale Benoit, Owner, Print-‐All, Inc.
- Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans
- Sharon Bergeron, Vice President of Commercial Lending, Coastal Commerce Bank
- Donna Fraiche, Founding Member of Baker Donelson’s Louisiana offices, Former Board Member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority
- Fran Gladden, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, Cox Communications Southeast Region
- Philip Gunn, Managing Director of New Orleans Office, Postlethwaite & Netterville
- Will Hales, Assistant Vice President, Iberia Bank
- Tara Hernandez, President, JCH Development
- Merritt Lane, President & CEO, Canal Barge Company, Inc.
- Jay Lapeyre, CEO, Laitram, LLC
- G.F. Gay Le Breton, Managing Director, Chaffe & Associates
- Brandon Nelson, Vice President of Commercial Banking, Whitney Bank
- Mark Spansel, Partner, Adams & Reese
- Lizette Terral, President, New Orleans Region, JP Morgan Chase Bank
- Mickey Thomas, President & CEO, South Louisiana Bank
- Brent Wood, State Government Affairs Manager, Chevron
“As a business leader in a coastal community, I believe it is critical to safeguard our current and future assets so that we can continue to expand and grow our businesses with confidence,” Sharon Bergeron, Vice President of Commercial Lending, Coastal Commerce Bank. “Yet while protection of our current economy is paramount, Southeast Louisiana is also in a unique position to expand our expertise of coastal restoration and export this specialized knowledge to new regions, thereby creating new jobs and new industries for Louisiana firms and residents.”
More information on the Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy can be found here: http://gnoinc.org/news/publications/press-release/gno-inc-announces-coalition-for-coastal-resilience-and-economy/.