Urging citizens, government leaders and non-governmental organizations to recognize a continuous storm destroying Louisiana’s coast, King Milling, chair of America’s WETLAND Foundation, opened a summit on the national significance of Louisiana’s coastal master plan last week.
Ticking off a list of threatened environmental, navigation, energy and transportation assets housed in Louisiana’s wetlands, Milling said: “The lower Mississippi will be threatened by future storms that will materially impact international trade and commerce, which has been the cornerstone of wealth and community vitality from Arkansas to Minnesota.These conditions constitute the very definition of emergency.”
The summit, which took place in Baton Rouge, followed two leadership roundtables convened by AWF and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) held this past fall where topics surrounding Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan were the focus of discussions aimed at making the master plan operational and adequately funded.
“If we do not pursue the mandates in the plan and continue the implementation of the planning process, the result will be a catastrophe, not just for Louisiana but for much of the nation as well. Without that effort, towns and communities across the delta are at risk, and close to two-million people will be uprooted,” Milling said.
At the summit, Governor John Bel Edwards said that securing passage by the legislature of the 2017 Master Plan was essential.
“I want you to own this plan, I need you to help me build this plan,” the governor said.
“This is not just CPRA’s plan or my plan. This is Louisiana’s plan – the best set of projects and programs to build land and reduce the risk of storm surge flooding to protect and secure our state, our citizens and our resources. We know this plan does not do everything for everyone but does accept the reality that we don’t have unlimited dollars to do what we need to do. This plan does identify the best projects that can make the biggest impact.”
The 2017 Coastal Master Plan goes before the Louisiana legislature this April for approval. It outlines the process for the largest effort of its kind in the nation and is mandated by law to be revised every five years to take into consideration the dynamics of the coast and new science and technology.