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Letters: Why proposal to diminish CPRA would harm our coastal efforts

Coastal Erosion

Posted on April 11, 2024

After Hurricane Katrina, Public Law 109-148 ordered Louisiana to establish a single state or quasi-state entity to act as local sponsor for construction, operation and maintenance of all of the hurricane, storm damage reduction and flood control projects in the greater New Orleans and southeast Louisiana area. The state complied and created the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The chair of the CPRA reports directly to the governor. The CPRA is highly effective, largely due to this standalone structure.

The CPRA’s nationally and internationally recognized accomplishments are the result of the agency’s focus on coastal protection and also on restoration.

Since it was created, the CPRA has completed 157 projects, benefiting 55,000 acres of coastal wetlands, improving 370 miles of levees and constructing 70 miles of barrier islands. CPRA’s science-based planning and project implementation expertise are the gold standard for dealing with the growing environmental threats facing coasts everywhere.

Moving the restoration and protection functions currently housed at CPRA under the Department of Energy and Natural Resources would dilute the importance of the hurricane protection and restoration work by diminishing the agency’s status as a standalone, independent entity seated at the forefront of state government.

We also note that the energy industry supports the CPRA and has always participated in drawing up the CPRA’s master plan. Why fix something that is not broken?

Finally, we observe that the governor is calling to reduce the size of the CPRA board and advisory board. If exorbitant amounts of money were spent by taxpayers on supporting these boards, that might make sense. But none of the board members or advisory members has ever received any sort of payment for their time and expertise. asks the governor to not place the CPRA under the Louisiana Department of Energy and Natural Resources and not to reduce the number of advisers and board members.


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