By Amanda Moore, Greater New Orleans Program Manager, National Wildlife Federation
On Wednesday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe, La. for what possibly could be his last public meeting outside of Washington, D.C. Salazar said he was proud to hold the meeting in the Mississippi River Delta, adding that it is “a world-class conservation area for hunting and fishing.”
State and local government officials, fishermen and women, and non-profit leaders turned out to the refuge to meet the secretary, ask questions, and share concerns on topics ranging from coastal community and at-risk youth engagement in coastal restoration to ensuring that ecosystem restoration is the focus of BP oil disaster fines and penalties routed through the RESTORE Act.
Speaking to the BP disaster, Salazar said, “Sometimes from the hardest of times, the best of things arise. We have a great opportunity to put restoration of the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast on steroids.”
The secretary acknowledged the contribution the Gulf Coast makes to the country in terms of energy production and noted that we now have the resources to move forward with some of the major structures needed for restoration, like river diversions in the Mississippi River Delta. He said Louisiana can be one of “our best examples of ecosystem restoration.”
Mr. Secretary, we are ready to make it happen.