Jeff Sadow, an associate political science professor in Shreveport, recently wrote a column that appeared in The Advocate stating that the latest draft of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan should be rejected by the legislature unless a “more scientific and less politicized approach” is taken in developing the plan. In it, he implies that the plan’s updated and increased sea-level rise predictions for Louisiana’s coast are somehow motivated by election of Gov. John Bel Edwards and not by science.
I can unequivocally state that nothing is farther from the truth. In fact, had Sadow taken just a moment to investigate this issue he would have found very detailed documentation regarding our approach and would have noted that in fact the decisions he decries were made public on Sept. 22, 2015, at a technical briefing/webinar, well before the election of Gov. John Bel Edwards. That briefing boasted 143 participants, was open to the public, was recorded and has been available since then on the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority website. For proof and particulars, go to the September 2015 webinar at https://vimeo.com/140946351. The sea level information begins at about 17.50 minutes into the video.
It’s a shame that Sadow has tried to politicize the Coastal Master Planning process. Experts from around the world look to Louisiana as the gold standard for long-term planning for coastal resilience. To Louisianans, this has never been about Republicans or Democrats; it’s about our homes, our businesses and our way of life. We’ve always rallied together in a bipartisan way when it comes to matters affecting our coast.
Politics aside, let’s talk about leadership. Since taking office in January 2016, Edwards has shown an unwavering commitment to our coast and has been a staunch advocate and supporter of a master planning process that is grounded in the best science and engineering available and includes rigorous public input efforts, an approach that is in fact intentionally designed to remove parochialism and old-school politics from decision-making.
Over the past two weeks, we have traveled our coast conducting public meetings to hear feedback and receive input on the draft plan. The meeting rooms have been packed because our citizens understand our very existence is being threatened by coastal land loss. CPRA has been roundly applauded for letting science drive its planning, and appreciation has been expressed for Edwards and his administration allowing us to do so unencumbered as we seek the best means to protect and restore coastal Louisiana.
chairman, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority