Louisiana Coastal Protection Agency Under Threat

The state’s new governor wants to shrink the power of the agency, which has spearheaded essential flood protection and mitigation efforts since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

1 minute read

May 29, 2024, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Paved bike path on top of earthen dike levee along Mississippi River in Louisiana.

A paved bike path on earthen dike levee along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. | Lost_in_the_Midwest / Adobe Stock

Louisiana’s robust coastal protection plans are under threat from Governor Jeff Landry’s plan to radically transform the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, say environmental advocates. 

Christopher Dalbom, a senior research fellow at Tulane University, calls the agency “one of the best, deepest coastal restoration authorities in the country.” Since its inception in 2005, the authority has built or repaired over 300 miles of levees and restored coastal barrier islands.

As Shannon Osaka explains in The Washington Post, “Landry, who took office in January, has removed six members of the coastal restoration agency’s board and suggested subsuming it into another, larger department.” Environmental groups worry the shakeup could slow down important projects and inject politics into the agency.

A plan to divert part of the Mississippi River in a region where the shoreline is rapidly sinking could also be in jeopardy after the state stopped fighting a lawsuit claiming it could impact local fishing. “In a state Senate hearing earlier this month, the agency said that if the project is halted, almost $1 billion could go to waste.”

Saturday, May 25, 2024 in The Washington Post

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