Environmental groups say politics, not safety, is priority in changes to levee board process.
A coalition of environmental groups is heading to Baton Rouge to fight legislation aimed at changing how levee board members are appointed. The changes would affect the levee board that is suing the oil industry to pay for repairing wetlands damaged over decades of oil production.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:47 pm
The U.S. lost an average of 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands from 2004 to 2009, according to the latest data published by federal agencies. More than 70 percent of the estimated loss came in the Gulf of Mexico; nationwide, most of the loss was blamed on development that incurred on freshwater wetlands.
"The losses of these vital wetlands were 25 percent greater than during the previous six years," NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports for our Newscast unit. She also notes that the loss equals "about seven football fields every hour."
The state has acquired more than 11,000 acres of wetlands in Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes as part of a conservation project funded by a settlement over the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana said Monday that the $6.7 million purchase of the forested wetlands on the north shore of Lake Maurepas is funded by MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, which was a minority partner in BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Landowners interested in selling property to help Louisiana and federal coastal forest conservation efforts have until Friday to apply for part of the $7.4 million available in the second round of applications.
Bren Haase, deputy chief of planning with the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, tells The Advocate the Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative's goal is to protect coastal forest areas not only for the habitat they provide but also for their ability to hamper storm surge from tropical storms.
There's plenty of mud flowing down the Mississippi River and getting washed out into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Now, in a bid to save the threatened delta, the Army Corps of Engineers says it wants to take mud dredged from the shipping channels to build up fragile wetlands.