Gov. Edwards tells lawmakers LA is racing against time to save its coast

Gov. Edwards tells lawmakers LA is racing against time to save its coast

(WVUE) - Declaring Louisiana is in "a race against time," Gov. John Bel Edwards backed the state's revised Coastal Master Plan, which comes before lawmakers in their annual spring session.

"We should all be proud of the plan we are putting forward today, one that utilizes cutting-edge science and extensive public and stakeholder outreach to address the complex challenges that face our coast," Edwards said in a statement formally endorsing the plan.

The proposals are part of the governor's legislative package, which lawmakers will consider after they convene for their annual spring session April 10.

"This is a plan for all of Louisiana, not just one agency and not just for the coast," Edwards said.

Edwards said the 50-year, $50 billion master plan will reduce risk from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Two measures will be introduced as concurrent resolutions and specifically address the Coastal Master Plan and the annual coastal spending plan for the fiscal year starting in July, Edwards said. Both will be pre-filed this week.

The Coastal Master Plan recommends 120 projects that state scientists believe will build or maintain more than 800 square miles of land and reduce expected damage by $8.3 billion annually by 2067.

Here are some additional key points:

  • The plan dedicates nearly $18 billion to marsh creation using dredged material.
  • It dedicates $5 billion to sediment diversions.
  • More than $2 billion will be used for other types of restoration projects.
  • $19 billion will go towards hurricane protection projects and $6 billion for nonstructural risk reduction.
  • It calls for flood proofing more than 1,400 structures, elevated more than 22,500 structures and voluntary buyouts of approximately 2,400 structures.

While fines from the 2010 Gulf oil spill will bring roughly $9 billion to Louisiana over a 15-year period, planners concede the coastal plans are not fully funded.

Before lawmakers vote, the plan must first win the formal approval of the Coastal Restoration Protection Authority (CPRA).

The annual funding measure includes $644 million in spending, with 30 projects currently scheduled to begin in the coming fiscal year starting in July.

Among the big ticket items are $118 million for the Caillou Lake Headlands, $35.8 million for Lost Lake Marsh creation and hydrological restoration, $29.4 million of Jean Lafitte tidal protection, and $22.9 million for Rosethorne Tidal Protection.

It also calls for the following:

  • $371 Million for construction
  • $122.8 million for engineering and design
  • $97.3 million for operation, maintenance, monitoring
  • $33.2 million for operating costs
  • $31.9 million ongoing programs and initiatives and
  • $6.7 million for planning

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