Experts to Discuss How to Pay for Massive Coastal Restoration Effort
We are raising our hands because we have a few questions for the distinguished panelists at the Coastal Conservation Conversation  tonight, Aug. 20, at Loyola University in New Orleans (6:00–8:00 Central Standard Time, 7:00 Eastern). Click here  for a campus map. Parking is available in the neighborhood and in the West Road parking garage.
The conversation will be live-streamed.
Click here  to watch the talk.
Bob Marshall at The Lens reports  that this morning, “the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy released a report estimating that the state’s $50 billion Master Plan for the Coast will end up costing more than $100 billion over its 50-year time frame . It arrives at that figure by adjusting for inflation over 50 years and adding the $6.2 billion cost of the Urban Water Plan  for New Orleans, which proposes innovative water management techniques within the city.”
The panelists discussing how the plan can be paid for will be Mark Davis , Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy • John Driscoll , Corporate Planning Resources • Kyle Graham , Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority • Douglas J. Meffert , Audubon Louisiana/National Audubon Society • Steve Murchie , Gulf Restoration Network • Courtney Taylor , Environmental Defense Fund. The moderator will be John Snell  of WVUE/Fox 8.
Marshall adds, “The Tulane institute says the doubling in projected cost shouldn’t deter coastal restoration, noting that it cost nearly $100 billion to rebuild the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. ‘Knowing what is at stake and coming to terms with the true costs of saving coastal Louisiana are prerequisites for a robust civic conversation about how best to finance it.’ ”
Questions for the Panelists:
Ms. Anne Mueller, Development Director of The Lens, was kind enough to offer to forward questions to the panelists, so we came up with the following, in descending order of importance (though we think they’re all important). If you have questions, you can write to Anne at <amueller@TheLensNola.org> or via The Lens’s staff contact page .
The first thing we would say to the panelists  is “Thank You for coming and sharing your expertise. We owe you, and we’re listening. And please come again!”
(1) In a time when federal funding is not likely from a U.S. Congress in which fiscal conservative / Tea Party representatives seem not to want to allocate any further funding for any purpose, but only to cut back, how can we approach members of Congress—what persuasive arguments can we make that this environmental issue is critical and needs federal assistance? (“National Security Begins at Home.”) Private contributions alone will not suffice.
(2) Even if Louisiana were to be offered federal funding to help with coastal restoration (please!), what’s to stop Gov. Jindal from once again making a political show of refusing to accept federal monies? He has done this time and again, to the state’s detriment (and we’ve seen his actions  against the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East lawsuit).
(3) re: private sources of funding: How can environmental leaders / organizers (such as the panelists and their colleagues) and rank-and-file activists appeal to CEOs and other business executives (esp. of oil and gas / energy companies) to please help contribute funding to coastal restoration? Can they help pay for advertising / public service announcements, for example? We “little people” are already doing about all we can think to do. What does it take to get them to help more? (Our friend Mark Davis will say  we need to show them what we’re doing, that it’s important to us, etc. True, but what else?)
(4) How can the good people of Louisiana, who are not known for environmental activism, get our friends, neighbors, fellow citizens to care and speak up about Louisiana’s coastal predicament? (Public service announcements on TV and radio by Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré , for example, might help, right?)
(5) For The Lens and organizers: Were representatives from the staffs of Gov. Jindal and senators Landrieu and Vitter and Congressman Scalise invited to this event? If not, why not? All possible high elected officials should be invited, or at least notified—Mayor Landrieu’s office, too. (We admit, this question only occurred to us this morning.)
Again, we are grateful to The Lens and the Mississippi River Delta Coalition  for organizing this important event, and we thank the following sponsors: The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana , the National Wildlife Federation , the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation , and the Audubon Society Louisiana .
See the event’s Facebook page here .
See our previous post  about the Coastal Conservation Conversation below.
Understanding Louisiana’s Environmental Crisis: To learn more about Louisiana’s environmental predicament, which has repercussions for the entire United States, see “Understanding Louisiana’s Environmental Crisis” on our Environment & Ecology  page.
Other LNW posts about Louisiana’s coastal crisis:
Conservatives, Please Help Conserve Louisiana’s Coast  (10/3/11)
Martha Serpas: Our Life, Between Sea and Oil  (7/11/10) : reprint of a New York Times op-ed
BP Oilpocalypse Threatens New Orleans’s Very Existence  (5/14/10)
And more! Click here .
An unforgettable scene in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11  (2004) showed former Attorney General John Ashcroft singing “Let the Eagle Soar .” We say “Let the Pelican Soar . . . and soar some more.”