A coalition of Louisiana coastal groups have sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday asking that additional money from offshore oil and gas leasing expected soon not be diverted from coastal restoration.
The letter signed by more than 300 groups joins a number of others sent to the president, including those from coastal groups, elected officials and Gov. John Bel Edwards.
The Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act, passed in 2006, was intended to give coastal states a larger share of the offshore revenue from 2007 through 2016 and then an increased amount starting in 2017. The increased share was expected to give Louisiana a consistent funding source for ongoing coastal restoration and protection work.
The president’s proposed 2017 budget would redistribute that money for use around the country. The letter sent to the administration sets out the case for why the money can do the country good by remaining with coastal restoration work.
“Unfortunately, despite the progress we have made since the 2005 hurricanes and the 2010 oil spill, Louisiana is still facing the largest land loss crisis in north America,” the letter from the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition says.
The additional money expected from the act has been constitutionally dedicated to coastal work in Louisiana, the letter continues.
The importance of coastal restoration and protection in Louisiana applies to fish and wildlife, as well as navigation, oil and gas production and the protection of coastal residents who work and live in the endangered areas.
“You have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to Louisiana’s ongoing recovery and its importance to the nation,” the letter reads. “We respectfully request that you reconsider that approach as you work with us and our communities to build the kind of long term resilience we can achieve.”
The coalition is made up of the National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Audubon, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. They were joined in signing the letter by a diverse group including foundations, engineering companies, chambers of commerce, city governments, construction companies and outdoor organizations.