Archive for Media Resources


Groups Challenge Proposed Raids on Coastal Restoration Funds

February 10, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Groups Challenge Proposed Raids on Coastal Restoration Funds

Conservation organizations urge Administration, Congress to protect GOMESA funds for Louisiana coastal restoration

(Washington, D.C.—February 10, 2016) In response to the release of President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal and the U.S. Senate debate on energy legislation, national and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:

“We oppose any efforts by the Administration or Congress that undercut commitments to restore critical ecosystems in Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta, where we are losing 16 square miles of vital wetlands every year – a preventable coastal erosion crisis.

“These wetlands, which are nationally significant for both our environment and economy, will be lost without concerted and immediate investments. And those investments – currently underway through implementation of the 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan – absolutely depend upon Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funding, which is constitutionally committed in Louisiana to a Coastal Trust Fund that supports that plan. Failure to honor that federal commitment would directly result in accelerated land loss, habitat destruction and further degradation of this world-class ecosystem.

“The Mississippi River Delta is a national treasure that is home to millions of Americans, provides vital wildlife habitat, and supports billions of dollars in seafood industries, navigation interests, and energy production. This landscape deserves our full attention, including a comprehensive restoration strategy dependent on continued GOMESA funding, which must not be withdrawn or constrained.”

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening 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, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 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.

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Rising Mississippi River: Implications for Louisiana’s Vanishing Wetlands

January 8, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Media Resources

Rising Mississippi River: Implications for Louisiana’s Vanishing Wetlands

Expert Interview and B-Roll Opportunities

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

At 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 10, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open the Bonnet Carré Spillway, which is upriver from New Orleans, and potentially will open the Morganza Floodway, which diverts excess floodwater from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya Basin, a few days later. These openings are due to unusually early flood conditions on the Mississippi River – a result of heavy winter rainfall throughout much of the Mississippi River’s drainage basin. Twenty-nine deaths and loss of property in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma are a stark reminder of how dangerous Mississippi River floods can be.

While these high-water events are important reminders of the need to manage the Mississippi River for flood protection, they also highlight the opportunity to leverage the power and sediment of the Mississippi River to address Louisiana’s land loss crisis.

When opened, the Bonnet Carré Spillway can shunt up to 250,000 cubic feet per second of sediment-laden water from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain to reduce pressure on the river levees and prevent flooding. This sediment could go to rebuilding Louisiana’s wetlands – and this is not the only area where precious sediment is being wasted. Over the last two years alone, approximately 176 million tons of sediment has been transported down the river and much of that has escaped through the mouth of the Mississippi River and off the outer continental shelf – beyond where it can be of any immediate use to restoration efforts.

Louisiana’s coastline is losing a football field of land ever hour, largely due to a lack of sediment from the river replenishing starving wetlands. During high-water events like this one, the river contains more water and sediment than usual. Without restoration projects like sediment diversions in place to utilize this influx of sediment for coastal restoration, this vital component for restoring our coast are lost. In the future, when sediment diversions are put in place, we’ll be able to utilize the increase sediment for coastal restoration and manage flood waters through many valves. The Louisiana Legislature and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Board are set to vote to fund the advancement of two sediment diversions in Plaquemines Parish, Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton sediment diversions, in the months ahead.

Experts from the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition will be available for interviews at the Corps’ press conference on Sunday, January 10 as well as in the days leading up to and the weeks following the opening. They can discuss the need to use the natural power of the river – and the sediment it holds – to restore Louisiana’s degraded coastal wetlands.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Press Conference Details

WHEN: Sunday, January 10, 2016
WHERE: Bonnet Carré Spillway, 16302 River Rd, Norco, LA 70079
EXPERTS: Steve Cochran, Campaign Director, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition and Associate Vice President for Coastal Protection, Environmental Defense Fund
John A. Lopez, Ph.D., Executive Director, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
David Muth, Director for Mississippi River Delta Restoration, National Wildlife Federation
Douglas J. Meffert, D. Env., MBA, Executive Director, National Audubon Society (Audubon Louisiana)
Alisha Renfro, Ph.D., Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration, National Wildlife Federation

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Louisiana Governor-Elect Appoints New Leader for Coastal Restoration

January 5, 2016 | Posted by jhebert in Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), coastal restoration, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Louisiana Governor-Elect Appoints New Leader for Coastal Restoration

(BATON ROUGE, La. – January 5, 2016) Today, Louisiana Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards announced that Johnny Bradberry is his appointee for Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities. In this position, Bradberry will also serve as the Chairperson of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Bradberry, who is a former Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, succeeds current Chair Chip Kline, who took the position in February 2015.

National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:

"This is a critical appointment, given the state of our coast and increased funding opportunities to restore it. Perhaps no other area of responsibility offers as much hope, or peril, for our state's future.

"We very much appreciate the dedication, commitment and progress of the CPRA leadership to date, and look forward to working with Governor-elect Edwards’ choice to continue and expand that leadership. We expect Mr. Bradberry’s long record of private sector and public service to serve the state and the coast well, and offer any and all assistance to achieve that result."

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Funding for Louisiana Coastal Area Program Included in Omnibus Spending Bill

December 17, 2015 | Posted by jhebert in Army Corps of Engineers, coastal restoration, Congress, Federal Policy, Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), Media Resources, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Funding for Louisiana Coastal Area Program Included in Omnibus Spending Bill

Money Will Help Advance Critical Coastal Restoration Projects

(WASHINGTON—Dec. 17, 2015) Yesterday, the U.S. Congress unveiled a year-end spending bill that includes more than $10 million in funding for the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 is expected to be approved in coming days by the full Congress. This funding includes $10 million for LCA Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials (BUD Mat) Construction and $50,000 for LCA General Investigations and reflects a request in the President’s FY 16 budget. These levels were previously included in both U.S. House and U.S. Senate versions of FY 16 Energy and Water Appropriations bills.

National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:

“We commend Congressional leaders and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for including critical funding for the Louisiana Coastal Area Program in this year-end spending bill. LCA projects will help restore critical wetlands throughout the Mississippi River Delta, which will protect Louisiana’s vital coastal infrastructure and natural resources. We would especially like to thank the Louisiana Congressional delegation for their bipartisan efforts and dedication to Louisiana’s coast.

“The Mississippi River Delta is home to more than 2 million people and countless wildlife and birds, and is an economic engine for the entire nation, providing billions of dollars in economic activity. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina and five years after the Gulf oil disaster, this funding provides a critical opportunity to advance much-needed coastal restoration. We are gratified by the commitment to restoration the Obama Administration and Congress have shown in advancing the restoration program in fiscal year 2016, and we look forward to continued progress in the years ahead.

“The state of Louisiana has included many LCA projects in its 2012 Coastal Master Plan, and this funding is an important down payment in the effort to move that important suite of projects forward along the path to completion. Our organizations look forward to working with the state of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on seeing these Louisiana Coastal Area Program projects through from engineering and design to implementation.”

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening 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, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 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.

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RESTORE Council Votes to Approve Priority List of Gulf Restoration Projects for Funding

December 9, 2015 | Posted by jhebert in BP Oil Disaster, Federal Policy, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Media Resources, Restoration Projects, RESTORE Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RESTORE Council Votes to Approve Priority List of Gulf Restoration Projects for Funding

(December 9, 2015 – Biloxi, Miss.) Today, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration (RESTORE) Council voted to approve its first Funded Priorities List (FPL) – a compilation of restoration projects the Council will prioritize for funding and implementation following the 2010 Gulf oil disaster. This set of projects will be funded by a portion of RESTORE Act dollars designated for ecosystem restoration from the Transocean Clean Water Act settlement.

National and local conservation organizations working on Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement in response to today’s announcement:

“We congratulate the RESTORE Council and staff on their efforts to finalize this Funded Priorities List. Our organizations look forward to continuing to monitor projects as they move into the implementation phase.

“Additionally, now that the BP settlement is near final, the RESTORE Council and the Gulf states have a tremendous opportunity ahead to achieve broader meaningful restoration and lasting resilience for the essential ecosystems of the Gulf. However, with certainty around funding levels, the Council will be faced with difficult decisions. In order to make progress toward comprehensive restoration, the Council will need a science-based process for prioritizing future projects, with a focus on more large-scale proposals. With the first BP settlement payments on the horizon, it is essential that the Council promptly turn its attention to updating the Comprehensive Plan, so that it can serve as a tool to guide future investments around the Gulf. We stand ready to assist the Council and staff as they undertake this critical next step.”

Media Contact:

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Rachel Guillory, Ocean Conservancy, 504.208.5816, rguillory@oceanconservancy.org
Andrew Blejwas, The Nature Conservancy, 617.785.7047, ablejwas@tnc.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, johnlopez@saveourlake.org

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Governor Jindal’s Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Coastal Restoration

November 20, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Jindal’s Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Coastal Restoration

Conservation groups urge legislature to use rainy day fund, not coastal dollars, to fill gaps

(New Orleans, LA – November 20, 2015) Today, the joint budget committee of the Louisiana state legislature held a hearing to discuss the state’s mid-year budget cuts to reduce a budget deficit. Proposed cuts include a more than $6 million reduction of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s budget – more than seven percent of the agency’s total budget.

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 – issued the following statement in response:

“Coastal restoration dollars are for building wetlands and protecting communities – not filling budget gaps. At this definitive point in our state’s history, when we have the opportunity to leverage dollars from the BP settlement to make significant progress on coastal restoration, cutting the coastal restoration budget is shortsighted and dangerous.

“Gutting the agency charged with overseeing coastal dollars and projects – when Louisiana is on the cusp of receiving millions in BP settlement dollars for crucial master plan projects – puts Louisiana’s communities, businesses and wildlife at risk.

“Instead of selling coastal restoration efforts short, lawmakers should use the state’s ‘rainy day’ fund for its intended purpose – balancing the budget. Our coastal restoration dollars must be protected as if our future depends on it, because it certainly does.”

Contact:

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

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Press Release: La’s Gubernatorial Candidates Declare Positions on Coastal Restoration Fiscal Issues

November 18, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Media Resources

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.

 Contact:

Steve Cochran, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, 504-264-6741, scochran@edf.org
Scott Kirkpatrick, Coast Builders Coalition, 225-929-7033, scott@coastbuilderscoalition.org

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Groups Pleased As Key Sediment Diversions Advance, Coastal Restoration Funds Protected

October 21, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Media Resources, Meetings/Events, Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, Science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Groups Pleased As Key Sediment Diversions Advance, Coastal Restoration Funds Protected

CPRA Board Moves Forward on Two Diversion Projects, Proposes Using GOMESA Funds for Highway Elevation

(October 21, 2015 – Baton Rouge) Today, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) board announced two major developments. First, CPRA recommended advancing both the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversion projects in the Coastal Master Plan, which will reintroduce fresh water and sediment from the Mississippi River into its surrounding, collapsing wetlands and rebuild land over time. Secondly, the CPRA board voted to approve a new proposal to use Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) money, rather than funds previously committed to projects in the state’s Coastal Master Plan, for elevating Louisiana Highway 1.

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition – which includes Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation – issued the following statement in response:

“We are pleased to see CPRA leverage the most current and best-available science to move forward the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversions projects into engineering and design. The urgency and severity of our collapsing delta requires that we use the most powerful tools at our disposal. Sediment diversions provide the best opportunity to restore the coast over time, preserving our communities, industries and entire way of life. We will continue to pursue and understand the science behind diversions, but there is no scientific uncertainty about our physical reality – we live in a landscape built by the river, disappearing because we have cut the delta off from the river.

“This announcement is an important step toward getting sediment diversions up and running. We’re in a race against the clock and forces of nature. We need to move forward at full speed while ensuring efficiency and transparency in the steps ahead.

“Louisiana Highway 1 is a critical corridor for our state and national economic vitality. We believe that the elevation of Highway 1 is eligible for GOMESA funding, and we join with the LA1 Coalition in pursuit of adequate funding for this and other coastal infrastructure projects. We support the development of a prioritization system that would allow for up to 10 percent of GOMESA revenues to be spent on coastal infrastructure projects, with a focus on projects that are directly impacted by coastal wetland loss. This system should reflect the significant role of coastal infrastructure projects such as Highway 1, which contribute to energy security, community resiliency, and the national, state and local economy. This is a long-standing and well-understood aspect of GOMESA and does not veer from any prior commitments to restoration.

“We are gratified that the state has made the right decision in considering an appropriate funding source for this coastal infrastructure improvement project and has not moved forward with using oil spill funds it previously committed to the Coastal Master Plan.”

A recent poll found tremendous statewide support for coastal restoration:

  • 94 percent indicate that a gubernatorial candidate’s commitment to protect and restore coastal Louisiana will be important to them when they vote.
  • 90 percent want the next governor to ensure funds currently dedicated to coastal restoration are not spent on anything but coastal restoration.
  • 87 percent want the next governor to work to identify and secure funding for future projects identified in the state’s Coastal Master Plan.
  • 85 percent believe restoration of coastal Louisiana should be a high priority for the new governor.
  • 95 percent want the new governor to commit to move quickly and get started building coastal restoration projects.
  • 78 percent believe protecting and restoring coastal Louisiana is as important as other issues facing the state.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) indicate support for river diversions to build new land in Louisiana.

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening 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, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 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.

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Governor Jindal’s Plan to Redirect Coastal Restoration Funding is Bad for Louisiana

October 9, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), coastal restoration, Media Resources, RESTORE Act, Restore the Coast

Governor Jindal’s Plan to Redirect Coastal Restoration Funding is Bad for Louisiana

Conservation Groups Launch Ad Campaign Opposing Jindal Funding Proposal

(New Orleans – Oct. 9, 2015) A coalition of local and national conservation groups will sponsor paid print and online advertisements in newspapers across south Louisiana this weekend opposing Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal to redirect money from the Coastal Master Plan to fund the elevation of Louisiana Highway 1.

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition – which includes Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation – implores in the ads “Protect our Coastal Master Plan funding. Tell the Governor NO.”

By asking the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to use any “excess” restoration funds to pay for elevating LA-1, Gov. Jindal is trying to walk away from the state’s commitment to preserve coastal funding for projects in the state’s Master Plan.

“While the money from the BP criminal and civil fines will jumpstart our efforts to restore the coast, it won’t come close to finishing the job. That is why it’s crucial to protect every dime of restoration money,” said Steve Cochran, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition. “Redirecting funds is a slippery slope that weakens our state’s credibility, threatens our ability to secure future funding and puts our future at risk.”

The print advertisements will run in the Times-Picayune, The Advocate, Plaquemines Gazette, St. Bernard Voice, Daily Comet, Houma Courier and The (Lafayette) Advertiser.

The coalition is also urging the public to write Gov. Jindal in opposition to his plan and to speak out against the proposal at the Oct. 21 meeting of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in Baton Rouge, when the issue is scheduled to be considered. For more information, visit ProtectTheFunding.org.

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition has also launched the “Restore the Coast” community engagement campaign to highlight the important role Louisiana’s elected officials play in coastal restoration. This multifaceted, nonpartisan education campaign asks voters to sign a pledge urging leaders to: be a voice for coastal restoration, protect existing and secure future coastal restoration funding, and support Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. Learn more at RestoreTheCoast.org.

Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is a joint effort of non-profit organizations made up of science, public policy, economics and outreach experts working to raise awareness and build support for science-based solutions to restore Louisiana’s coast.

Contacts

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

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Conservation Groups Pleased to See Gulf Restoration Efforts Advance

October 5, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in BP Oil Disaster, Federal Policy, Media Resources, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), RESTORE Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Conservation Groups Pleased to See Gulf Restoration Efforts Advance

NRDA Trustees Release 1,500-Page Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan

(NEW ORLEANS – October 5, 2015) Today, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees released their draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (DARP) for the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 oil disaster. The U.S. Department of Justice, BP and the five Gulf states also released their proposed Consent Decree to finalize the $20.8 billion agreement in principle resolving state and federal government claims against BP from the Gulf oil disaster.

In response to these announcements, national and local conservation organizations working on Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement:

“More than five years after the oil disaster, we are encouraged to see Gulf restoration move forward with release of the NRDA Trustees’ draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan. While we have not yet engaged on the details of the plan, we applaud the Trustees for their work to get to this point.

“The oil disaster damaged hundreds of miles of shoreline; killed more than one million birds, mammals and other wildlife – and we will not know the full environmental effects of the spill for decades to come. The NRDA process will help bring the Gulf back to the state it was before the spill, and the release of this plan is a positive step toward that end. It is also encouraging to see the concept of maximizing sediment delivery included in the DARP, and the recognition of the potential value of that approach through river diversions.

“We are also pleased to see forward movement on finalizing the settlement with BP. Once the consent decree is approved, it will provide a steady funding stream to the Gulf – funds that are vital to the restoration and long-term ecological health of the region. In Louisiana, this money will help fund the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.

“The health of the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast ecosystems is important not only to the communities and economies of the region, but to the entire nation that depends on the Gulf for ports, energy, seafood, tourism and other important industries.

“Today’s announcements get us one step closer to realizing a restored and revitalized Gulf Coast. We look forward to working with the NRDA Trustees on finalizing their plans.”

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening 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, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 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.

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