Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.

Chip Kline’s recent verbal assault on Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser for speaking against the $2.8 billion Mid-Barataria Diversion Project shows just how far he is willing to stoop to defend an indefensible boondoggle that the very people it is supposed to help vehemently oppose. While the lieutenant governor may have been his target at a recent Baton Rouge Press Club event, Kline’s comments are really insulting to the people and elected leadership of Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes who voted to condemn the project.

While Kline claims his project is the “right thing to do for the long-term sustainability of south Louisiana,” clearly, the people who live and work there know better.

Kline continues to brush off the deeply negative and long-term impacts flooding parts of south Louisiana for 50 years will have on the state’s commercial fisheries as collateral damage. Oystermen and our colleagues who shrimp, crab and fish for a living are strong advocates for protecting and restoring our coastline; however, we believe we can rebuild the coast without sacrificing our natural resources.

Kline’s claim to be all-knowing regarding diversions is insulting to more than the lieutenant governor. Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Legislature should hold Kline accountable for his divisive and incendiary comments or find someone with less ego and more tact to do a job he now seems incapable of doing without offending several hundred thousand of his fellow residents.

There are other proven ways to rebuild coastal wetlands and restore and enhance the Barataria basin without destroying livelihoods and hurting our coastal communities. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has deliberately and cynically failed to explore any of them.


chairman, Louisiana Oyster and Joint Fisheries task forces