Governor declares unprecedented state of emergency on Louisiana’s disappearing coastline

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sunset at Point-aux-Chenes, Louisiana

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an emergency proclamation today, but not for a hurricane, flooding or other natural disaster — it’s declaring the Louisiana coast in a state of crisis.

According to a release from the governor’s office, the emergency proclamation will be sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress as a necessary means of raising the national profile of this crisis.

“The Louisiana coast is in a state of crisis that demands immediate and urgent action to avert further damage to one of our most vital resources,” said  Edwards. “Immediately addressing this crisis will rejuvenate Louisiana’s economy and provide benefits across generations and positively impact the nation’s economy, including energy production; transportation and refining; intermodal commerce and trade; fisheries; disaster resilience; and natural resources.”

Louisiana’s coast is home to over half of the state’s population and significant industries that provide jobs, taxes, and products that are intertwined with the entire state’s well-being and economic productivity, the governor’s office said.

Johnny Bradberry, executive assistant to the governor for coastal activities and board chairman to Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, submitted a request to the governor for the proclamation.

“We are in a race against time to save our coast, and it is time we make bold decisions,” he said.

An estimated 2,250 square miles of coastal Louisiana is expected to be lost in the next 50 years, the governor’s office said. Coastal shorelines, marshes and swamps serve as a vital barrier and a first line of defense against storm surge and flooding along the Louisiana coast are disappearing.

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