LA Business, Civic Leaders To President Trump: Don’t Take Away Gulf Restoration Funds


NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, July 11, 283 Louisiana leaders of businesses, industry trade associations, municipal governments, economic development groups, civic groups, ports and sportsmen’s organizations sent a letter to President Trump, urging him to reconsider a measure in his proposed 2018 budget that would jeopardize the only consistent source of federal funds dedicated to combat Louisiana’s land loss crisis.

“Our regional economy is dependent on our coast for both existential survival and catalytic industry opportunities: our coast not only underpins our foundational industries such as maritime, oil and gas, and advanced manufacturing, but also presents new workforce and business opportunities via water and infrastructure management,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Removing GOMESA funds—as is currently proposed in the President’s 2018 budget—is a direct threat our economic prosperity, industrial productivity, labor diversification, and Louisiana’s economic and industrial contributions to the nation.”

Louisiana’s Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) allocation is constitutionally committed to the implementation of its 2017 Coastal Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast and is critical for communities, businesses and infrastructure that rely on a stable coastline for growth and survival. Because of the opportunities to protect existing assets of national importance and to be a model for other coastal communities around the world, the 283 signers united to call for GOMESA funds to remain dedicated to Gulf restoration, GNO, Inc. reps said.

The groups noted in the letter:

• Failure to implement coastal restoration exposes business, residential and infrastructure assets to greater risk from storms, which could cause damages of up to $138 billion from each major storm. Coastal restoration also mitigates land loss, which will cost businesses an additional $11.2 billion in business disruptions and loss of assets now located on land expected to be lost.

• In addition to mitigating the economic costs of storm damage and land loss, investing in coastal restoration will also support nearly 60,000 jobs over the next 10 years and $1.1 to $1.5 billion in annual output.

• Large-scale restoration of coastal Louisiana presents a huge opportunity to protect existing infrastructure and industry of national importance. The state of Louisiana supports the U.S. economy by providing:

– Five of the nation’s 15 largest shipping ports by cargo volume, handling a fifth of all waterborne commerce in the United States, generating $11 billion of economic impacts and one of every five jobs in the State;

– $47 billion per year in oil and gas production;

– 40,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry;

– Nearly 30 percent of the commercial fishing landings of the continental United States;

– $1.8 billion annual impact from recreational fishing;

– Important wintering habitat for waterfowl in Mississippi and Central Flyways, critical to a $3 billion national waterfowl hunting industry, which supports 27,348 jobs;

– $16.5 billion per year in tourism in Louisiana; and

– $9 billion per year in restaurant sales, supporting 207,000 jobs in Louisiana

A total of 283 business, civic and parish groups joined the letter to defend the GOMESA funding that is urgently needed for coastal restoration in Louisiana. Included in the signer list were:

• 30 Parishes, cities, levee districts and municipal agencies

• 11 statewide associations representing realtors, bankers, architects, chemical manufacturers, shippers, engineering consultants, dredgers, general contractors, shippers, coastal restoration companies and municipal government

• 41 regional Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development groups

• 64 outdoor recreational businesses and sportsmen’s clubs

• Six Ports

• 31 civic groups and foundations

• 13 top-rated restaurants

• 87 other individual businesses

This diverse group of stakeholders reflects the growing depth of public support for implementing restoration measures to stem coastal land loss, now happening at the rate of one football field every hour in Louisiana, GNO, Inc. reps said. Virtually all sectors of society will be affected by unabated land loss, they said.

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