Coastal Desk

Southeast Louisiana is sinking under the waves faster than any coastal landscape in the world. With so much at stake for Louisiana and the nation, WWNO has made coastal news a priority.

Since mid-2014 our Coastal Desk reporting team has been producing frequent news reports and in-depth features covering coastal erosion and restoration; hurricane protection; offshore energy and other coastal businesses; wildlife and fisheries impacts; and coastal communities and culture.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

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St. John the Baptist Parish

St. John the Baptist is the latest parish to file a lawsuit against oil and gas companies. Parish officials say the industry is partially to blame for coastal land loss.

 

It’s the latest move in a long saga as the suits make their way through various courts.

Mike Mozart (flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Gas prices usually rise in the spring and peak around Memorial Day. That’s because refineries make more expensive blends for summer. Last week, though, prices leveled off early.

 

Though prices have been a little less predictable this year, the cause of that unpredictability could actually be good for the Louisiana oil and gas industry.

Lawsuits Allege Interstate 12 Exacerbated August Floods

Apr 24, 2017
Della Hasselle / WWNO

In August, residents of southeast Louisiana were left stunned when water destroyed towns during a so-called 1,000 year rain. The National Weather Service said the flooding was triggered by a slow-moving, low-pressure weather system that dumped as much as two feet of rain over a matter of days. But as Della Hasselle reports, others say some of the damage could have been prevented, and that one highway in particular is to blame.

At Friday's meeting of the Restore Louisiana Task Force, the members approved a formal request for an additional $2 billion in recovery funds as part of a federal budget proposal being considered by Congress next week.

Chuck Perrodin / CPRA

Governor John Bel Edwards has declared Louisiana’s ongoing coastal land loss a state of emergency. It’s part of the state’s strategy to speed up coastal restoration projects.

Environmental permits can slow down big restoration projects. The Army Corps of Engineers, for example, says it could take up to five years to get federal permits to open up the Mississippi River and use diversions to create new land.

So state officials are looking for ways to fast-track these projects.  

More than 1,400 local, state and federal officials from around the country are in New Orleans this week to focus on hurricane response. Mayor Mitch Landrieu told the group that good communication is vital. Mayor Landrieu said there have been dramatic improvements in disaster response since the days after Hurricane Katrina. “I’m a FEMA fan now. FEMA’s gotten a lot better,” he said. He said people working on hurricane preparedness, response and rebuilding often coordinate with other agencies.

New Orleans City Park / cityparkgolf.com

City parks are good for water runoff. Open green areas soak up rain and trees wick it down into the water table. So in a wet city like New Orleans, City Park is an important asset.

 

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland sat down with CEO Bob Becker to learn about how water management was considered in the park’s new golf course. The park is independent - it doesn’t get money from the city - and Becker says they needed the $26 million course to cover a quarter of the park’s budget.

Karen Henderson/WRKF

The process of rebuilding a home that has flooded is hard and frustrating. Some flood survivors are choosing to sell their property and start over somewhere else. Before the August flood, Baton Rouge was a sellers market. Many are finding it still is, even if your home took on water. Karen Henderson from WRKF reports.

Louisiana homeowners with damage from last year's devastating floods are being asked to take a survey.

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

In coming days, President Donald Trump is set to make an executive order to reverse much of President Obama’s climate change policy. The details are still unclear. But here in Louisiana, state officials and environmentalists are already grappling with the new administration’s actions on the environment – like proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with Steve Cochran, of the Environmental Defense Fund, about the implications for the state.

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