News > Statements
Dec 20, 2006
"Today's signing of this bill gives Louisiana, for the first time in history, the promise of the long term revenue stream we need to restore our fragile coastal environment and to protect our vulnerable communities, as well as the nation's energy infrastructure. We have a plan and we will start work on it in 2007.
"Our state has lost more than 1,900 square miles of land in the last 80 years and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita converted more than 200 additional square miles of wetlands into open water. Our vulnerable Louisiana coastline - America's Wetland - protects thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines that deliver offshore energy to the nation, produces a third of the nation's fisheries, is home to millions of migratory birds, and protects navigation routes for a fifth of the nation's waterborne commerce.
"The money shared with Louisiana under this bill will be well invested. The voters of Louisiana overwhelmingly adopted an amendment to the state's constitution to dedicate all of these revenues to coastal wetlands restoration and hurricane protection. These dedicated funds will be used to help finance our comprehensive coastal protection and restoration plan that will be finalized this spring. Our planning team has been in communities throughout south Louisiana during the past month, listening to citizen concerns and suggestions for the final draft to be presented to the legislature in early April.
"The final plan will dictate the amount of funding necessary in the short term, and since substantial funding will not start until 2017, the state is addressing the most responsible and expedient ways to leverage those future dollars so the real work can begin immediately. But be assured, each and every dollar will be spent wisely and with thorough public input.
"I am pleased President Bush made this bill the law of the land today. I commend our current Congressional delegation and all those who came before them for their hard work in moving this bill to passage. I also thank those here in the state who have advocated for the sharing of revenues for so long."
The first draft of the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Master Plan can be viewed at www.louisianacoastalplanning.org.