New infrastructure package delivers significant wins for Louisiana’s coastal communities

In a historic step toward strengthening the nation’s resilience to climate change, President Biden yesterday signed into law the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The spending package – whose implementation will be coordinated by Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor and former Louisiana lieutenant governor – includes $47 billion earmarked specifically for climate resilience, delivering consequential investments that will protect vulnerable communities and save billions of dollars in long-term disaster relief.

Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of conservation, policy and science experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy, welcomed the signing of this law and the appointment of Landrieu to coordinate its implementation.

“Coastal restoration and other forms of natural infrastructure are some of the best solutions available to push back against more severe storms and rising sea levels,” said Cathleen Berthelot, senior policy manager of climate resilient coasts and watersheds at Environmental Defense Fund. “At a time when Louisiana is dealing with more FEMA disaster declarations than anywhere in the country, this infrastructure bill will bring sorely needed investments to better protect communities across our state from increasing climate impacts.”

These vital investments in Louisiana include:

  • $2.55 billion for coastal storm risk management, hurricane and storm damage reduction projects through the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • $1.9 billion for aquatic ecosystem restoration through the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Nearly $1.5 billion to NOAA for America’s coastal resources and communities through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, community-based restoration, and flood mapping and modeling.
  • $207 million for habitat restoration under the Coastal Zone Management Act.
  • $1 billion for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program.
  • $3 billion for FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Program.
  • $500 million in funding for disaster mitigation through the STORM Act.
  • $53 million for EPA’s Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration program.
  • Five-year reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration Trust, including CWPPRA.

Photo: CPRA