Nine separate organizations focused on restoring Louisiana’s coast have sent a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards urging him to reject a proposal by Rep. Lance Harris that would strip $9.3 million from the Executive Department’s budget.
The organizations are: Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Restore or Retreat, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, America’s Wetland Foundation, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy.
“These cuts would negatively impact the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) – the state agency charged with addressing Louisiana’s worsening land loss crisis,” Environmental Defense Fund said in its announcement.
CPRA recently released its draft 2017 Coastal Master Plan and is working to advance large-scale restoration and risk-reduction projects in order to avoid a future in which coastal Louisiana would lose an additional 2,250 square miles of land.
“Our concern is simply that the program will be prevented from effectively playing the essential role of restoring and protecting our coast if these cuts are implemented,” the letter stated.
In addition, the letter highlights how these ongoing mid-year funding cuts particularly impact CPRA, as its operating budget comes directly from the Executive Budget, unlike other state agencies.
Over the last three years alone, mid-year funding cuts have diminished the coastal fund by more than $12 million.