Commitment of state funds to coastal priorities is necessary in face of urgent crisis
Baton Rouge, LA — Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards made two key announcements today for funding and strong leadership of coastal programs to address the state’s land loss crisis. First, the Governor has proposed allocating $55 million from state surplus dollars to the constitutionally-protected Coastal Trust Fund to support projects in the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan to address the crisis, as well as announcing more than $300 million through the Gulf of Mexico Security Act (GOMESA) to fund master plan risk-reduction projects across the coast over the next three years. Secondly, the Governor announced that Chip Kline has been appointed as Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities, a position that also serves as Chairperson of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). Kline, who was serving in an interim capacity for the position, has served in coastal leadership positions for a decade.
Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of national and local conservation groups working together to address Louisiana’s land loss crisis– Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:
"Today’s announcements from Governor Edwards are steps forward for our coast.
"The Governor’s decision to dedicate a significant amount of state surplus dollars to the Coastal Fund demonstrates that he and Louisiana are committed to addressing our land loss crisis with urgency. It is also encouraging to see GOMESA dollars being used to advance more than 20 Coastal Master Plan risk-reduction projects across the state. With the Gulf of Mexico inching closer every day, Louisiana needs to secure and protect as much funding as possible to ensure coastal restoration and protection projects are implemented quickly. Dedicating state surplus funds to address these coastal needs is an important step forward for the communities, jobs and wildlife our coast supports.
"We’re also pleased to see the appointment of Chip Kline as Chairperson of CPRA. Chip has helped Louisiana navigate some of the most difficult challenges our coast has faced – from oil spill settlement negotiations to implementation of complex, large-scale protection and restoration projects. His experience advocating for Louisiana’s coast at the local, state and federal levels has greatly benefited our state. We look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Kline as we collectively tackle the greatest challenge facing Louisiana."
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