Screenshot of 'Proclamation Number 43 JBE 2017: State of Emergency – Coastal Louisiana' declared by Gov. John Bel Edwards on 19 April 2017, officially declared Louisiana's coastal land loss an emergency, a move he hopes will expedite a host of restoration projects mired in federal permitting. Graphic: State of Louisiana

BY Tristan Baurick
20 April 2017

(The Times-Picayune) – Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday (April 19) officially declared Louisiana's coastal land loss an emergency, a move he hopes will expedite a host of restoration projects mired in federal permitting. "The Louisiana coast is in a state of crisis that demands immediate and urgent action to avert further damage to one of our most vital resources," he said. [cf. Proclamation Number 43 JBE 2017: State of Emergency – Coastal Louisiana.]

The proclamation is to be sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress. Edwards wants Trump to declare coastal erosion a national emergency and pressure the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to speed approvals for sediment diversion projects and other initiatives outlined in Louisiana's $50 billion, 50-year coastal master plan. The 2017 update of that plan was unanimously approved earlier Wednesday by the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Edwards also is asking Congress to change federal laws to exclude coastal restoration projects from environmental laws. In the alternative, he asked that Congress allow approvals under a special fast-tracked process.

The proclamation was requested by coastal authority Chairman Johnny Bradberry. "This clearly highlights the support and recognition that Gov. Edwards has about the criticality of the state of our coast, and further demonstrates that he is clearly is a coastal governor," Bradberry said.

The coastal authority says about 2,250 square miles of Louisiana will be lost over the next 50 years if urgent action isn't taken. Coastal marshes and swamps that serve as barriers against storm surges and flooding are fast eroding, putting businesses, homes, and lives at risk, Edwards said. [more]

State of emergency declared for Louisiana coast by Gov. John Bel Edwards

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