Obama Told Only “Robust And Effective Federal Effort” Can Ensure “Coastal Louisiana’s Survival”

President Obama received a letter from Louisiana political officials, local, state, and national organisation leaders today informing him that “a vigorous and successful government effort…is vital” to preserve “coastal Louisiana’s survival” ahead of his visit to New Orleans on Thursday.

Governor Bobby Jindal, U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, Representatives Steve Scalise, Joseph Cao, Charlie Melancon, and Charles Boustany, President of the Environmental Defense Fund Fred Krupp, President of the National Audubon Society John Flicker, and President of the National Wildlife Federation Larry Schweiger are among those who have signed the letter.

In full-page advertisements paid by the National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, and National Wildlife Federation, the letter will be published in the Thursday issues of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans Tribune, and Politico.

The leaders point out that the issue is urgent because Louisiana has lost more than 2,300 square miles of coastal wetlands since the 1930s, an area larger than the state of Delaware. They also note that during his campaign and his 2009 address commemorating Katrina, President Obama spoke of “the need to strengthen the wetlands and barrier islands that are the Gulf Coast’s first line of defence.”

The president’s “recent steps in support of New Orleans and coastal Louisiana,” including his visit to the Gulf Coast, the extension of the workday of the Gulf Coast Recovery Coordinator’s office, and the formation of the Gulf Coast Interagency Working Group, are praised by the leaders as “concrete steps forward to community, economic, and environmental recovery and resiliency.”

The organisers claim that restoring the Mississippi River delta wetlands “would rescue the seventh biggest river delta in the world, be the greatest ecosystem restoration initiative in history, safeguard towns and cultures of international renown, and boost the American economy.” “Coastal restoration is a critical part of both short- and long-term risk reduction in this area, and it must work in conjunction with other lines of defence, including as current and future government expenditures in levees, evacuation planning, and storm-sensitive community reconstruction.”

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