Posted on February 6, 2024
Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry announced a new chair and executive director of the state agency charged with restoring and protecting Louisiana’s withering coastline.
Former state representative and Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove will chair the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and has been charged with restructuring how the organization runs. Glenn Ledet, who previously led the coastal science and engineering programs at engineering firm Neel-Shaffer, will serve as CPRA’s executive director.
Landry offered few details on what a restructuring of CPRA would look like during a news conference Wednesday at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.
“Me and [Dove] shared that vision that what we want to do is make the board more of a functioning managing board that oversees the projects that are necessary to protect our coasts,” Landry said.
Dove has a long history of coastal restoration work, most notably spearheading efforts to fund and construct the nearly 100-mile Morganza to the Gulf of Mexico coastal protection project. He also served as chair of the House Natural Resources Committee in the Legislature, where he carried a number of coastal bills during his 12 years in office.
As parish president from 2016 to 2024, Dove kept Terrebonne out of litigation that other coastal parishes have pursued against oil and gas companies, seeking compensation from companies that caused wetlands damage. He argued that he didn’t want to run those businesses out of the parish.
Landry also named Tony Alford as chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection. Alford was a co-owner and president of a Houma-based oilfield services company, Dual Trucking and Transport, which was accused in two lawsuits of spilling toxic waste in southeast Montana approximately 10 years ago.
Dove was also listed on Montana business records as a member of the company, although he denied any involvement in an interview with Verite News.
Oil industry executive Benjamin Bienvenu was named as Landry’s commissioner of conservation, a subagency of the Department of Natural Resources that regulates fossil fuel commodities in Louisiana.
“They believe in our oil and gas sector,” Landry said of Bienvenu and his boss, Natural Resources Secretary Tyler Gray. “They believe in domestic energy. They believe it is the oil and gas sector that has lifted more people out of poverty globally than any other industry in the world.”
Landry spent much of the news conference discussing the importance of expanding oil and gas refining in Louisiana, which he contends would increase the number of middle class jobs in the state.
“They are committed to making sure that Louisiana over the next four years has one of the most robust oil and gas exploration … and refining operations in the country,” Landry said.