Louisiana Cannot Afford More Studies
NOAA"Second, we told Secretary Mabus that a critical part of Louisiana's long-term recovery is speeding up the timeline for sharing oil royalties. Senator Landrieu and our Congressional delegation have been working on legislation to expedite the sharing of energy revenues rather than delaying it and we strongly support these efforts. This is important because the President's moratorium on deepwater energy production will not just hurt jobs in Louisiana; it also delays energy revenue sharing that is due to the state under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. Our Constitution requires that every penny of these revenues be dedicated to projects to restore our coast, provide hurricane protection and address other impacts from energy production. These funds will be put to good use and this will be another key element in restoring our coast."
Governor Jindal added, "We also told Secretary Mabus about our state's own commitment to coastal restoration work. Since taking office in 2008, we have committed around $660 million in state funds to coastal restoration and hurricane flood protection efforts. We are joining with our Congressional delegation to ask for a federal commitment to match the strength of our state commitment on many restoration projects. We appreciate the Secretary's commitment to saying we need to get this done in months and not years. We know we simply do not have the 40-plus years that it currently takes to complete projects through the Army Corps of Engineers - especially now that this oil spill has caused damage to our interior wetlands.
"Our state has already lost 2,300 square miles of coastal lands since the 1930s. This is like losing the entire state of Rhode Island or Delaware. We have been working aggressively to reverse this trend of coastal land and wetlands loss. We have already clearly seen in this disaster that this oil has the potential to stop and reverse the progress we have made. Our state was on track to have the lowest rate of land loss in 80 years as a result of our efforts and investments in our coast. Our shrimpers were rebounding, our oyster fishermen were recovering and our coastal communities were rebuilding. That is why this spill fundamentally threatens Louisiana's way of life."
For the flyover, the Governor was also joined by U.S. Department of Interior Deputy Secretary Tom Strickland, Congressman Charles Boustany and Congressman Joseph Cao.
WHAT'S AT RISK FROM THE OIL SPILL/COASTAL EROSION?
Louisiana has 40 percent of the coastal marshlands in the continental United States and 18 percent of all waterborne commerce in the United States.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) says "fishery supported by this area remains the most productive in North America" with 90 percent of all species and 98 percent of commercial fish and shellfish.
Louisiana's wetlands are also home to five million waterfowl and America's largest wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl and songbirds. Over two million Louisianians and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are along the coast, which also supports the most productive fisheries in the continental United States.
Louisiana's coast supports hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure and commerce for the state's economy. Indeed, Louisiana has five of the top 15 tonnage ports in the U.S and over 30 states depend upon Louisiana's ports for imports and exports.