Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards opened the second of two leadership roundtables yesterday in Baton Rouge, hosted by the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) and the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), with a focus on financing the State’s master plan for coastal restoration and protection.
Introduced by former Governor Kathleen Blanco as the new and highly capable State’s steward of the coast, Governor Edwards encouraged coastal leaders to think creatively.
“We all know some will ask why spend the money in the first place if the coast is in so much trouble?” Governor Edwards said. “The answer is because we have communities there now and industries and cultural resources and I am open to creative solutions. We all have to be.”
The governor went on to say he has been intent on protecting the money the state does have now.
“I ended the practice of using the Coastal Trust Fund as a pass through to free up one-time dollars for the state’s budget and we successfully worked through a number of bills during the regular session that took aim at the statutorily dedicated mineral revenues of the coastal program,” the governor said.
“I look forward to the summit on December 7 that will focus on some of the creative ideas for funding and implementing our restoration program that have been discussed during the past two days.”
CPRA and AWF joined forces for the two-day series of discussions on finding common ground, adapting on the path to implementation, and moving past barriers to find success on important issues like fresh water and sediment diversions and the future of coastal communities as the plan becomes a reality in efforts to stem the rising tide.
The leadership roundtables precede the announcement of a 2017 updated master plan for coastal restoration and protection to be considered by the Louisiana Legislature and a December 7th Summit on the National Implications of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.