Landrieu Comments on Start of 2010 Hurricane Season, Urges Increased Coastal Protection

June 3, 2010

WASHINGTON — United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu commented on the start of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins today. Last week, federal forecasters predicted that there could be 14-23 named tropical storms this season, including eight to 14 hurricanes and three to seven major hurricanes.

Sen. Landrieu said:

“While today marks the beginning of hurricane season, Louisianians have spent the past six weeks being constantly and painfully reminded how vital it is to protect our vulnerable coastline. Louisiana has more than 7,000 miles tidal shoreline. That is more than the distance from Miami to Seattle and back. Louisiana is home to 40 percent of the nation’s wetlands, and there are 1.4 million Louisianians living along the coast, which greater than the population of Washington D.C and San Francisco combined.

“Every minute that goes by, Louisiana loses more of its coastline, and with it, the ability to protect our delicate marshes and wetlands. Every 38 seconds, Louisiana loses a football field of shoreline. At current land loss rates, nearly 640,000 more acres, an area nearly the size of Rhode Island, will be under water by 2050. This erosion of our coastline leaves us vulnerable to even more destruction than we witnessed during Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

“It is not enough to go into this hurricane season hoping that the Gulf Coast escapes unscathed. We need to take immediate steps to bolster our coastline. The federal government can start by accelerating revenue sharing to begin immediately and releasing funds already appropriated for coastal protection projects that have been mired for years in red tape. We also must allow the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to use dredge material to bolster barrier islands that serve as a first line of defense against manmade and natural disasters.

“As we focus on how we can all be prepared for the next major hurricane, we should be mindful that preparation goes beyond getting our homes, businesses and communities ready in the event of a storm. It also means ensuring that our vital shoreline is ready to withstand the impact of a major hurricane. If we do not take action now to rebuild our fragile coastline, we risk losing our marshes and wetlands forever.”

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