Coastal loss a ‘national security crisis’? Labeling it so might draw federal money

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By Tristan Baurick, Coastal environment reporter

Pitching Louisiana’s disappearing coast as a national security crisis and linking it to military priorities could steer more federal money to the state’s costly restoration and protection projects. A new report from Tulane University urges state leaders to emphasize coastal military bases and Louisiana’s critical role in the country’s energy supply as they seek billions of dollars for the coastal master plan.

Past pursuits of federal money to save the coast have focused on environmental and economic concerns. But the changing political climate in Washington means a national security angle might now be more fruitful. “We have to be prepared to sell the story others are willing to hear,” said Mark Davis of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.

President Donald Trump says he’ll substantially increase defense spending. At the same time, federal funding for environmental projects will take a steep dive, his administration has indicated. The Republican-controlled Congress is expected to back increases in national security spending.

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