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.”
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, email@example.com
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, email@example.com
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, firstname.lastname@example.org
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