Press Release: La’s Gubernatorial Candidates Declare Positions on Coastal Restoration Fiscal Issues
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Louisiana’s Gubernatorial Candidates Declare Positions on Key Coastal Restoration Fiscal Issues
Coastal Restoration Groups Publish Position Statements by Vitter, Edwards
(New Orleans, LA – November 18, 2015) Earlier today, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition – comprised of national and regional conservation groups Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – in partnership with Coast Builders Coalition, published position statements by Louisiana’s gubernatorial candidates on two important fiscal issues related to coastal restoration that the next governor will face early in his term. These statements were in response to an official letter delivered to both candidates on November 9 in which the groups asked the candidates to provide their positions on how they would handle two key coastal issues once in office.
The first question involves the payback of Greater New Orleans Area Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) by the state of Louisiana to the federal government. Louisiana owes approximately $93 million per year for the next 30 years to pay off its debt. The groups asked the candidates how they might manage this enormous fiscal obligation.
Both candidates indicated they would not use existing coastal funds to repay this obligation and may use Capital Outlay funds along with other sources to meet the payment obligations.
The second issue involves the level of funding generated by the state of Louisiana for coastal restoration. Since 1989, the state’s only annual recurring commitment to coastal funding has remained nearly stagnant between $25 and $35 million. Given the tremendous backlog of projects in the state’s $50 billion Coastal Master Plan, we asked the candidates whether Louisiana’s current contribution was significant enough to match the need and how and where additional funds might be found.
The candidates both indicated a need to identify future funding to implement the master plan, suggesting several federal and private options.
The organizations received official responses from both candidates on November 17. We have published these responses in full along with the original letter on the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition website. Read their full responses here.