In Letter to President, Landrieu Outlines Plan to Restore, Protect La. Coast

June 15, 2010

Provides President Obama with proposals that could be included in his address to the nation tonight.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today sent President Barack Obama a comprehensive outline to restore and protect Louisiana’s coast, proposals the Senator is urging the President to include in his address to the nation tonight.

In the months leading up to the BP oil spill, Sen. Landrieu convened a broad coalition of stakeholders and experts to discuss the future protection, restoration and conservation of coastal Louisiana. The result was a series of recommendations included in a policy document prepared by Sen. Landrieu in April, the details of which have been discussed in detail with White House and Administration officials. These discussions have been productive. This “white paper” could serve as a blueprint for the Obama Administration and Congress to address both the short- and long-term challenges facing Louisiana’s wetlands and coastal communities.

“The conclusion we reached is that we must have an immediate and dedicated stream of revenue for the restoration of the coast and establishment of a new model for governance, planning, and applied science,” Sen. Landrieu wrote. “I urge you to review the attached proposal for a new approach to our decades-long struggle to protect and restore coastal Louisiana, and support accelerating the sharing of oil and gas revenues from the outercontinental shelf with coastal producing states. Tonight’s speech is the perfect opportunity to deliver this powerful message to the Gulf Coast and nation. Your Administration took an important first step when you heeded my call for more coordination among Federal agencies by establishing the White House-led Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Working Group. I commend you for this effort, as their work has been an essential step towards a path forward. I hope you take this recommendation as an urgent call to action for the future of coastal Louisiana.”

Accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s wetlands, Louisiana’s coast produces 90 percent of America’s offshore energy and as much as 40 percent of the seafood harvested in the lower 48 states. In addition, Louisiana’s unique and culturally rich delta drains 40 percent of the continental United States, but is eroding at a rate of 25 to 35 square miles of wetlands per year – or a football field every 38 minutes. The loss of life and property that occurred as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita were exacerbated by the vulnerable coastal wetlands and lack of coastal flood protection measures.

“In the face of the current oil disaster in the Gulf, the consequences of federal inaction are grave,” Sen. Landrieu wrote. “But the consequence of continued inaction by the Federal government in restoring and protecting coastal Louisiana would deal a lasting blow to our communities, economy and way of life.”

For a full copy of the letter to the President, please visit here.

For a full copy of Sen. Landrieu’s policy brief on a new federal approach to restoring and protecting coastal Louisiana, please visit here.

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