Louisiana Race to Save Coast Hits Federal Speed Bumps

Featured in Bloomberg BNA

By Nushin Huq

Louisiana has been losing the battle to keep up with increasingly fast coastal erosion. The centerpiece of its efforts to speed up restoration got a streamlining boost from the outgoing Obama administration, but the state recently learned it still will take at least another five years of permit reviews before construction can begin.

Time is critical, because the longer the state waits, the more expensive restoration will be, officials say. Models of sea level rise show that 50 years from now, Louisiana could lose up to 4,000 square miles of coast, the state’s draft 2017 coastal master plan said. That is double what scientists predicted just five years ago.

Coastal marshes provide a natural barrier to protect the coast against storms and land loss, and so Louisiana is desperately trying to rebuild them. The coast—with fishing, tourism and the oil and gas industry—is the lifeblood of the economy.

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