We have already lost 2000 square miles of our coast in Louisiana. We are on track to lose another 2000 square miles in the next 50 years due to multiple factors, including sea level rise, levees which restrict deposits of sedimentation, subsidence, saltwater intrusion from oil and gas activities, and stronger and more frequent storms.
Millions of people in Louisiana and billions of dollars in homes, businesses and infrastructure are at risk due to land loss.
We have a Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (“Coastal Master Plan”) which was updated in 2017. There were 209 projects on the table when work on the plan started. Ultimately, 124 plans were recommended and a few more were added at the recommendation of lawmakers. The plan calls for a minimum investment of $50 billion in coastal restoration and hurricane protection over the next 50 years. At this level of investment, land loss will be slowed, but not stopped or reversed. Further, the Master Plan is not fully funded at this time and relies on both existing and “potential” funding sources in the future.
According to an analysis by Dr. Timothy P. Ryan (link below), full funding at the $100 billion level “would be able to produce a net land increase over the 50-year period.”
$50 billion over 50 years will produce 109,000 jobs and $3.6 billion in earnings. $100 billion over 50 years will produce 212,000 new jobs with $7 billion in earnings. This investment will drive jobs and tax revenue that can help Louisiana’s coastal communities, many of which are in the 3rd District.
Louisiana has provided the rest of the country decades of affordable domestic energy through service of the oil and gas industry while sacrificing our coast.
Louisiana has provided the rest of the country with a river and port system driving significant national and international commerce while sacrificing our coast through loss of sedimentation.
Louisiana has stood with the country and now the country needs to stand with Louisiana.
We are not asking for a handout. We are asking to be empowered to be a leader in this global challenge. Let us be the laboratory for learning and innovation in how to deal with climate change and coastal land loss. We already have a great start with the Water Institute of the Gulf, which helps coastal communities with applied research and technical services. Let us continue to develop expertise in coastal science and engineering that can be exported around the world. By investing in Louisiana’s coastal challenge, the nation will benefit enormously while we preserve our precious communities, our culture, land and habitat.
Here’s a link to the 2017 Coastal Master Plan.
Here’s a link to a 2014 study by economist Timothy Ryan on the impact of full funding for Coastal Master Plan projects.