Infrastructure Package Delivers Significant Wins for Louisiana’s Coast and Communities
Restore the Mississippi River Delta applauds investments while calling for swift action to implement coastal restoration projects and solutions
NEW ORLEANS (November 15, 2021) – In a historic step toward strengthening our nation’s resilience to climate change, President Biden today signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This $1.2 trillion spending package, whose implementation will be coordinated by Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor and former Louisiana lieutenant governor, includes $47 billion earmarked specifically for climate resilience, delivering consequential investments that will protect vulnerable communities and save billions of dollars in long-term disaster relief. As Louisiana continues to feel the impacts of Hurricane Ida and other extreme weather events, these commitments are needed more than ever. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy was one of the chief Republican negotiators of the bipartisan legislation, and Rep. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, actively supported it.
Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of conservation, policy and science experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy, applauds the signing of this law and the appointment of Landrieu to coordinate its implementation. The groups urge the Biden administration to move swiftly to implement these vital investments in Louisiana, which include:
- $2.55 billion for coastal storm risk management, hurricane and storm damage reduction projects through the Army Corps of Engineers.
- $1.9 billion for aquatic ecosystem restoration through the Army Corps of Engineers.
- Nearly $1.5 billion to NOAA for America’s coastal resources and communities through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, community-based restoration, and flood mapping and modeling.
- $207 million for habitat restoration under the Coastal Zone Management Act.
- $1 billion for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program.
- $3 billion for FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Program.
- $500 million in funding for disaster mitigation through the STORM Act.
- $53 million for EPA’s Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration program.
- Five-year reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration Trust, including CWPPRA.
“This legislation provides Louisiana with an opportunity to invest in its coast and in its future,” said Simone Maloz, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “This funding is critical for our state as we work together to rebuild from recent disasters and better protect communities in the future. But the funding is just the first step. Now we must continue important progress to direct these investments to proven, science-based restoration solutions included in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. With increased investments in the best restoration and community resilience projects, Louisiana can secure a safer future for all communities.”
“Coastal restoration and other forms of natural infrastructure are some of the best solutions available to push back against more severe storms and rising sea levels,” said Cathleen Berthelot, senior policy manager of climate resilient coasts and watersheds at Environmental Defense Fund. “At a time when Louisiana is dealing with more FEMA disaster declarations than anywhere in the country, this infrastructure bill will bring sorely needed investments to better protect communities across our state from increasing climate impacts. Now, Congress must work to also pass the Build Back Better Act to provide even more vital investments to Louisiana’s coast and the communities it supports.”
“We’re grateful to Sen. Cassidy, Rep. Carter and the Biden administration for their work to secure passage of this legislation,” said Brian Moore, vice president for Gulf policy at the National Audubon Society. “There is no question that this is a win for Louisiana and our coast. We must continue to build on this progress by acting now to direct these investments to vital restoration projects for our coastal communities.”
“Louisiana desperately needs more investments in its coast, particularly through projects in the Coastal Master Plan,” said Kimberly Reyher, executive director at Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. “Mitch Landrieu understands this, so his appointment is great news for Louisiana. As Mitch said in his address at the 2018 State of the Coast conference, ‘south Louisiana is one of the most vulnerable places on the globe, making our work on long-term restoration even more important.’”
“Without action and sustained investments, the bounty of Louisiana’s coast and all that it supports is in serious jeopardy,” said David Muth, director of the Gulf Program at the National Wildlife Federation. “Investing in coastal restoration will not only protect our communities, but it will also protect critical wildlife habitat that makes our state an ecological treasure and the Sportsman’s Paradise.”
“This legislation represents the most significant investment in climate resilience in our nation’s history,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of Pontchartrain Conservancy. “For Louisiana’s vulnerable communities on the frontlines of climate change, this represents nothing short of a lifeline.”
- Jacques Hebert, Environmental Defense Fund, 504.250.3699, email@example.com
- Lauren Bourg, National Audubon Society, 225.776.9838, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, email@example.com
- James Karst, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 504.220.7899, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kendra Smith-Parks, Pontchartrain Conservancy, 813.404.9893, email@example.com
Restore the Mississippi River Delta
Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of land loss, 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 Pontchartrain Conservancy, 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.