Archive for Economy
Guest post by Mike Mariana, Belle Chasse, LA
On January 15, my wife and I attended the Wine & Wetlands event organized by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition and their outreach coordinator for Plaquemines Parish, Philip Russo. More than 50 people from across our parish attended and had the opportunity to hear from several concerned citizens, business owners and governmental representatives, all working in their own way to restore our coast.
Thanks to the sponsorship of several of Plaquemines Parish’s concerned business leaders, all who attended the Wine & Wetlands event at the Woodland Plantation also enjoyed excellent hospitality. The food and spirits helped create a relaxed atmosphere where friends, both old and new, could discuss coastal restoration and the future of our parish.
One thing was clear: Unless we develop significant federal, state and local resources, and follow a solid plan, our parish and our way of life will be literally washed away.
I look forward to many future community activities as we continue to make more people aware of the need for coastal restoration. This is a broad geographical and multi-generational fight, and we have been passed the baton. It is now our jobs to educate the activists of the future and hold government and private-sector organizations accountable for coastal restoration projects on the books now. Please join us.
Belle Chasse, LANo Comments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, email@example.com
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Bourg, National Audubon Society, 225.776.9838, email@example.com
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, firstname.lastname@example.org
Louisiana Governor Cuts Coastal Funds, Jeopardizing Coast
Budget cuts will impact restoration programs and raises question of how state will pay for Coastal Plan
(New Orleans – January 21, 2015) On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced budget cuts including cuts to Louisiana coastal programs and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency (CPRA).
National and local conservation organizations committed to coastal Louisiana restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana issued the following statement in response to announced budget cuts:
“In 2012 the Governor and legislature of the State of Louisiana embarked upon a fifty-year, $50 billion effort to avert a disaster for more than two million of our coastal citizens. To date the state has managed to shield the agency leading that effort, CPRA, from budgetary politics. CPRA manages hundreds of millions of dollars in levee and restoration construction projects each year and is run on a small budget entirely supported by mineral revenues—nothing from the taxpayer-supported general fund.
“Clearly, Louisiana is facing a short term budgetary crisis, but CPRA is tackling a much more serious long- term crisis. If we lose the fight against the forces of coastal erosion, we lose our homes, our coastal towns and cities, our jobs, and we devastate our local and national economy. We are in the very early stages of developing the long-term strategies we’ll need to fund the plan—and we have a long way to go. In the meantime, cutting CPRA’s restoration and protection program support is short-sighted and ill-advised.
“Louisiana’s coastal region is an economic driver for the state and the front lines in protecting our state from storms and the encroaching Gulf of Mexico. Today’s budget cuts diminish the CPRA’s ability to do its job, putting communities at risk and slowing down restoration efforts. These cuts are an unfortunate attempt to hastily balance a budget while potentially having lasting impacts on our coastal economy and safety of coastal residents.
“As the state begins to implement a fifty-year, $50 billion coastal master plan, now is not the time to be cutting funds from the coastal program. On the contrary, the governor and legislature should instead be laying out a vision for what new sources of funding will pay for this critical plan.
We look forward to working with this governor and future governors to protect our coast and develop new, long-term funding sources that can be used to implement the state’s coastal master plan.”
Interview Opportunities: Interview opportunities are available with experts in coastal restoration and budget issues from our national and local conservation organizations.
Mississippi River Delta Restoration Experts:
David Muth, Director for Mississippi River Delta Restoration, National Wildlife Federation
Douglas J. Meffert, D. Env., MBA, Executive Director, National Audubon Society (Audubon Louisiana)
Kimberly Reyher, Executive Director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
Steve Cochran, Director for Mississippi River Delta Restoration, Environmental Defense Fund
This post originally appeared on the website OurCoastOurEconomy.org.
Environmental Defense Fund today launched a new business-focused website, OurCoastOurEconomy.org, which provides comprehensive information and data on the direct links between Louisiana coastal restoration and the survival and growth of business sectors in the state, Gulf region and nation.
The website offers resources on the economics of restoration, policy updates on the RESTORE Act and other restoration funding, a map of businesses poised to grow with increased funding for coastal restoration, news updates and reports.
Who would find this website helpful?
- Business leaders who care about making sure RESTORE monies get spent as intended.
- Policymakers interested in the types and locations of business that will benefit from restoration.
- Reporters following the RESTORE Act and covering why it matters to businesses.
If you are a supporter and advocate of coastal restoration, you will find this site useful for messaging and talking points. Be sure to check out the news section where, for instance, you can learn that the long-awaited Treasury regulations for the RESTORE Act have recently been issued and that an important new ruling has been issued in the BP oil spill trial. If you are a business involved in coastal restoration, you will find out about important tools like the state's Hot List, which tracks the status on current projects and projects under development.
What will you find?
The site contains many useful resources – in plain English – about the crisis of coastal land loss in Louisiana, what's happening with implementation of the federal RESTORE Act and the status of related funding streams available for Louisiana coastal restoration. For example, site visitors may be interested in:
- Videos and voices of businesses leaders speaking out in support of coastal restoration.
- Reports and fact sheets that help make the business case for coastal restoration.
- News about coastal restoration, focusing mostly on policy and funding developments.
- Restoration policy primer on oil spill-related policy and funding information, including:
- Links to federal and state agencies, including the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
- Timely reminders about upcoming hearings, CPRA and other public meetings and conferences.
- Facts about the economics of restoration, showing how restoration will both grow new businesses and protect existing business sectors – including shipping, oil and gas, fisheries and wildlife tourism.
How can you help?
We always need business leaders willing to speak out in support of restoration, be available for media interviews, write letters to the editor or participate in key meetings. If you want to help, we can loop you into what's happening. Contact us or sign up for monthly updates.
You can also help by telling others about this new website by:
- Emailing a link to your network and business contacts
- Sample tweet:
Coastal land loss is not only bad for the environment — it's bad for the economy. To learn more, visit www.ourcoastoureconomy.org
- Sample Facebook post:
Coastal wetlands in Louisiana are disappearing at the rate of a football field of land every hour. This land loss threatens our communities as well as thousands of businesses and jobs along the Gulf Coast. To learn more about what can be done, visit www.ourcoastoureconomy.org.
If you are a business, please cruise around the site and let us know if it's helpful, or what would make it more useful for your business purposes. To contribute content or get more information, email@example.com Comment
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/.No Comments
Gulf Tourism Depends on a Healthy Gulf
New report shows wildlife tourism is central to Gulf Coast economy
(New Orleans—July 9, 2013) The coastal environment of the Gulf of Mexico supports a $19 billion annual wildlife tourism industry that is highly dependent on critical investments in coastal environmental restoration, according to a survey released today by Datu Research LLC.
“Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy” concludes that wildlife tourism is extremely valuable to the Gulf Coast economy and relies heavily on the health of the endangered Gulf Coast ecosystem in the five states of Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi. Wildlife tourism includes recreational fishing, hunting and wildlife watching.
Key findings of the report show that wildlife tourism:
- Generates more than $19 billion in annual spending.
- Attracts 20 million participants annually across the five Gulf Coast states.
- Delivers $5.3 billion annually in federal, state and tax revenues.
The study also found tourism jobs can account for 20-36 percent of all private jobs in coastal counties and parishes that are particularly dependent on wildlife activities. Those 53 counties and parishes have more than 25,000 tourism-related businesses and nearly 500,000 associated jobs.
The study reported that all forms of tourism generate 2.6 million jobs in the Gulf states, nearly five times the number of jobs provided by the region’s other three largest resource-based industries: commercial fishing, oil and gas, and shipping.
“With so many outdoor adventure opportunities, tourism is a critical industry to our coastal parishes,” Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said. “Sportsman’s Paradise is more than our state’s nickname. If Louisiana is to remain the Sportsman’s Paradise, we have to ensure that funds Louisiana receives as a result of the Deepwater Horizon spill are properly and wisely spent preserving our paradise.”
Lt. Gov. Dardenne will speak at a press conference Tuesday, July 9 in New Orleans along with Billy Nungesser, president, Plaquemines Parish; Charlotte Randolph, president, Lafourche Parish; John F. Young, Jr., president, Jefferson Parish; Capt. Ryan Lambert, owner, Cajun Fishing Adventures; Mark Romig, president, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; Alon Shaya, executive chef, Domenica, Besh Restaurant Group; and Marcy Lowe, president, Datu Research LLC.
The study’s findings underscore the direct connection between the health of the ecosystem and the economic health of the Gulf region and the urgency for using the pending influx of monies from the RESTORE Act and other payments resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to properly and effectively restore the fragile Gulf Coast ecosystems.
“The conservation solutions that last are the ones that make economic sense and consider the needs of local communities,” said Scott Burns, director of the environment program at the Walton Family Foundation, which helped fund the survey. “This study connects the dots between a healthy Gulf environment, abundant wildlife and the good jobs that depend on tourism. This report adds to the growing evidence that investing in real restoration in the Gulf is the best way to create jobs and build economic prosperity across the region.”
Datu Research LLC is an economic research firm whose principals were part of the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness. They have previously released three analyses of supply chains associated with the work of coastal restoration, showing that more than 400 businesses in 36 states would benefit from such work.
Part II: Supporting comments
Comments from participants in release of study: Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy
John Young, president, Jefferson Parish: “This study further supports the direct link between a healthy coastal environment and a robust economy which depends on a $19 billion wildlife tourism industry. The well-being and continued growth of our coastal communities depend on the health of the Gulf, restoring and strengthening our fragile ecosystems, and promoting a wildlife tourism industry which can thrive, not only in Jefferson Parish but in all Gulf Coast states.”
Billy Nungesser, president, Plaquemines Parish: “Plaquemines Parish and Louisiana are the nation’s premier delta coastline. We are strategically positioned as the fishing capital of the world, the sportsmen’s paradise state and the seafood capital of the United States, and these factors which make Plaquemines and Louisiana unique depend on the health of our coast.”
Michael Hecht, president & CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.: “Tourism overall, including wildlife tourism, provides 2.6 million jobs across the Gulf States – and many of these are with small businesses. To protect this vital economic base, as well as other important coastal industries, we must prioritize large-scale coastal restoration projects that will ensure a stable coast and healthy environment.”
Mark Romig, president, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation: “New Orleans attracts the experiential discover type of tourist, one who enjoys using the city as a base to go out and explore any authentic and unique aspects of the city and region, including the natural world. For the many businesses in this region, the need to restore and preserve our coastal wetlands is not optional; it’s an urgent economic necessity.”
Capt. Ryan Lambert, owner, Cajun Fishing Adventures: “I’ve grown up loving and making a living from the waters of the Louisiana coast and for more than 30 years, my business has been taking people fishing in those waters. But every year, as I see places disappearing from the map, I fear I may be part of the last generation to live off the water.”
Ralph Brennan, president, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group: “Family restaurants like mine depend on a healthy Gulf Coast for the fresh seafood that has made New Orleans the culinary capital of the United States. The money states are beginning to receive to repair the damages from the Deepwater Horizon spill are our best – and may be our last real chance – to reverse decades of mistakes.”
Marcy Lowe, president, Datu Research LLC.: “This study shows the vital connection between the health of the ecosystem and the economic health of the Gulf region. Wildlife tourism is a major contributor to the Gulf Coast economy, but it’s very survival depends on the restoration of an endangered and irreplaceable ecosystem.”
Part III: Key study findings
Report: Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy
Key findings for the Gulf region
“Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy,” a survey produced by Datu Research LLC, finds that in the five Gulf Coast states:
- Tourism generates 2.6 million jobs, nearly five times the number of jobs created by the region’s other three largest resource-based industries combined: commercial fishing, oil and gas, and shipping.
- In Gulf Coast coastal counties and parishes where economies are particularly dependent on tourism, 20-36 percent of all private sector employment is tourism-related.
- Wildlife tourism, which includes wildlife watching, recreational fishing and hunting, generates more than $19 billion in annual spending.
- Wildlife tourism generates $5.3 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues, divided roughly equally between local and state tax revenues and federal revenues. In 2011, Gulf Coast state and local governments received $2.5 billion and the federal government $2.8 billion from wildlife tourism. Recreational fishing generates the highest amount of tax revenue at $2.2 billion followed by $2 billion from wildlife watching and $1.2 billion from hunting.
- Wildlife tourism attracts 20 million participants annually across the five Gulf Coast states. The wildlife tourism industry consists not only of wildlife guide businesses that directly serve wildlife tourists, but also the lodging and dining establishments where they eat and sleep.
- Gulf Coast tourism – and wildlife tourism in particular – is highly dependent on a healthy coastal environment.
- More than 11,000 lodging and dining establishments and 1,100 guide and outfitters businesses create business networks that depend on each other for referrals. In a survey of over 500 guide and outfitter businesses, about 40 percent of respondents said clients ask them for hotel recommendations and 55 percent said clients request restaurant recommendations. Likewise, more than 60 percent of guide businesses receive clients based on recommendations from hotels and restaurants.
- Guide and outfitting operations represent a strong network of small businesses that have a large impact on local tourism. More than 86 percent of these businesses have one to five employees, and nearly 60 percent host more than 200 visitors per year, with many hosting several thousand.
Did you know that coastal restoration helps not just the environment but also the economy? Restoration activities, like the construction of sediment diversions, coastal dredging and barrier island restoration, directly create jobs through the firms hired to carry out the projects.
Additionally, Louisiana’s coast supports a $34 billion tourism industry, 33 percent of our nation’s seafood harvest, 10 of our 15 largest ports and 90 percent of our offshore crude oil and natural gas production.1 Coastal restoration protects these industries by keeping ecosystems intact and protecting and restoring the natural barriers against storm surge and other natural disasters.
Here at the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign, we are committed to highlighting how restoring the Gulf Coast will not only rejuvenate an ailing ecosystem but also create new jobs and revitalize the gulf’s economy – an environmental and economic win-win.
Recently, economists with Environmental Defense Fund and Duke University have identified how coastal restoration provides quadruple economic returns by supporting jobs in multiple sectors. To better break this down, we have built a suite of Web pages called “Building a Restoration Economy” to show the different areas where jobs can be created:
- Tourism and fishing jobs
- Infrastructure-related jobs
- Restoration jobs
- Export industry jobs in restoration technology
A healthy coastal ecosystem is vital for the gulf’s economy and has the potential to create thousands of jobs in new, high-paying sectors, and with the recent passage of both the Louisiana 2012 Coastal Master Plan and the RESTORE Act, large-scale restoration will come sooner rather than later. For an ailing economy and wounded ecosystem, this is great news.
To learn more about our how coastal restoration provides quadruple economic returns, visit “Building a Restoration Economy.”