Louisiana governor prioritizes the largest restoration effort in U.S. history

On April 4, 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order NO. JBE 2016 – 09 underscoring the state’s prioritization of coastal restoration and protection activities and requiring all state agencies, departments and offices to adhere to the Coastal Master Plan to the greatest degree possible.

In response, national and local organizations comprising the Restore the Mississippi River Delta CoalitionEnvironmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement:

This executive order strongly affirmed the state’s commitment to coastal restoration and protection today. With billions of dollars already invested in a master plan that has benefitted tens of thousands of acres with more forthcoming, we applaud Governor Edwards for helping to remove barriers and ensure efficiency in the state’s fight to save its coast.

We’re all in this together, and we need to work together to undertake what the Governor has outlined as a top state priority in the years ahead. This order helps to ensure that agencies and departments will work cooperatively and leverage resources wherever possible to get the job done.

This collaboration and unified front is especially important with Louisiana in the midst of one of the largest ecosystem restoration programs in U.S. history. We have a golden opportunity to get this right – and that also means protecting funding for and advancing projects in the Coastal Master Plan. Our organizations will continue to work with Governor Edwards and all stakeholders to do just that.

On the same day, the consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and BP was signed. The agreement is the final step to settling BP’s penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. The same groups mentioned above released the following statement:

Today’s approval by Judge Carl Barbier means that billions of dollars for the largest environmental restoration effort in American history can finally be put to work. Funding under the provisions of the RESTORE Act and for natural resource damages will now be guaranteed for the next 17 years. This is a unique opportunity for state and federal agencies to work together toward a more resilient Gulf of Mexico. If done right, investment in the Gulf can have lasting benefits for the region and the nation.

Now is a time for big thinking across funding streams. This is a defining moment for the RESTORE Council and Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation leaders and others to all pull together and make good on years of promises for Gulf Coast restoration and resilience.

Photo credit: www.aljazeera.com
See original release on praise.

See release on consent decree.

You must be logged in to post a comment