Coastal Restoration Is Key to City's Long-Term Resiliency, and Administration Has Opportunities to Advance Efforts
As President Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush prepare to visit New Orleans to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week, national and local conservation groups working together of Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – issued the following joint statement:
"In the coming days, President Obama, two former U.S. Presidents and other leaders will honor the thousands of lives lost and bring well-deserved attention to the progress Louisiana and the Gulf Coast have made since the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina a decade ago.
"However, the job here is far from finished. Louisiana’s coastal wetlands – its first line of defense against future storms and a key driver for the health of the Gulf – continue to vanish at the stunning rate of one football field an hour. We look to President Obama to prioritize restoration of Louisiana’s disappearing coast for the remainder of his term and in doing so, leave a legacy of lasting resilience for the region.
"President Obama and leaders across government must maximize the impact of restoration efforts by protecting existing revenue streams for restoration, ensuring that the parties involved are working together effectively and prioritizing funding for large-scale ecosystem projects that will most significantly benefit the region. The pending BP settlement provides a tremendous immediate opportunity to do that, with billions of dollars that can be dedicated now to the most critical ecosystem projects Gulf-wide, including substantial investments in the Mississippi River Delta.
"This is not just a Louisiana crisis, it’s a regional and national issue: Louisiana’s coast and its communities are powerful economic engines for shipping, energy, seafood and other industries that feed and fuel the nation and support millions of jobs across America.
"Katrina was the wake-up call. We certainly hope the Gulf Coast never has a repeat of that level of devastation. But unless meaningful coastal restoration moves forward and is funded for the long-term, we leave the people, wildlife and industries across the Louisiana coast at immense risk. And because of the flow of funds resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the President and his Administration have the opportunity to act now, to turn these twin disasters into a positive, lasting and meaningful legacy in the Gulf."
The Mississippi River Delta
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