A Call to Action....
CRCL’s mission is to drive bold, science-based action to rebuild our coast through outreach, restoration and advocacy. Advocacy comes in many forms, whether it’s supporting the State’s Coastal Master Plan or raising awareness of coastal restoration in general. As the regular legislative session gets underway, we feel it’s important to lay out our priorities. Over next few months, we will be focusing on three main issues: protecting our coastal dollars, transparency in operations to ensure efficiencies and maintaining the capacity necessary to move forward with all deliberate speed. These issues are vital to restoring our coast.
Our 2016 Legislative Platform and Policy Priorities
In 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the state of Louisiana took the bold intentional step to form the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and charged it with developing and implementing an integrated, science-based coastal restoration plan.
Developed using the best available science and engineering, our Coastal Master Plan was first completed in 2012. The deliberate process that will produce an updated version in 2017 is seen as a national model. As stated in its foreword, the plan “focuses our efforts and guides the actions needed to sustain our coastal ecosystem, safeguard coastal populations, and protect vital economic and cultural resources. Additionally, the Coastal Master Plan provides the context needed to evaluate other activities in the coastal zone, including: transportation, navigation, and port projects; oil and gas development; ground water management and land use planning.”
Thanks to billions of dollars of new revenue from the BP oil spill settlements and proceeds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act that become available in 2017, we have an unprecedented window of opportunity as we move into an exciting new phase of ambitious implementation. The resources secured thus far are significant, but represent less than a third of the estimated $50 billion necessary to implement the major aspects of the plan.
It is critical to the survival of coastal Louisiana that the State engage a full partnership with the federal government and the private sector in order to secure the resources necessary to save our coast. To this end, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana believes that coastal advocates, stakeholders, and lawmakers must be vigilant and attentive to three linchpins key to maintaining a continuity in process and momentum in addressing this unprecedented ecological challenge:
1. Protecting our Coastal Funds
Coastal restoration is expensive, and as we continue to lose our coast, the costs will only rise. To implement the full suite of projects needed to protect and sustain our coast, we will need adequate, sustainable and reliable funding over time. In the near term, there will be pressures at both State and federal levels to use available dollars for purposes other than coastal restoration and protection.
2. Transparency In Reporting and Operations
In the long term, securing our safety and livelihood in coastal Louisiana will require a sustained federal, state and local investment and support, as well as the willingness of private interests to invest in their own protection. If we are to attract these dollars, we must affect transparency in all our operations. Ultimately, we must be able to show tangible results achieved as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. Only by inspiring the confidence of the federal government and the private sector will our State be able to secure the massive future investments necessary.
3. Ensuring Reasonable and Responsible Capacity
With our livelihood at increased risk with every passing day, we cannot afford to squander any time available to us in the fight to save our coast. We must make sure our efforts are aligned and that no where in our process do we employ tactics that are “penny-wise and pound foolish.” To that end, we must make sure that CPRA is adequately staffed to be able to move hundreds of millions of dollars efficiently and timely while maintaining all appropriate safeguards and measures.
CRCL will continue to broaden our working relationships with members of the Legislature and the proper state agencies to ensure attention and vigilance on these vital issues. We understand that our state faces some difficult challenges, but coastal restoration must remain a priority. We call on you to let our legislators know that these issues are extremely important to you. Visit crcl.org to stay informed on how well our lawmakers are doing on coastal issues as the legislative session progresses.
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