Eco Magazine’s Features King Milling Editorial
Eco (Environmental, Coastal and Offshore) Magazine is published 9 times a year in print and digital formats, each issue presents critical business intelligence for scientific professionals.
The America’s WETLAND Foundation’s Chairman, R. King Milling, was a guest writer of an article for the February 2017 edition of the magazine.
The article stated: In a few months, the Louisiana Legislature will consider the third iteration of its Master Plan for Coastal Protection & Restoration in Louisiana. At issue are the process, timelines and expanding costs to complete restoration projects. Certain regulations, rules and guidelines have been promulgated, which appear sensible but in practice serve to undermine the very aims of conservation, sustainability and environmental restoration. In the ensuing years since Louisiana declared war on coastal land loss, the state, private land owners, NGOs and local governments have found that the fatigue and eventual losing propositions of attaining permits to pursue restoration are overwhelming.
For more than a decade, we have tried to find a compromise to the dilemma we face with permitting processes. One solution to limitless timelines and cost overruns is to approve a “general” or “emergency” rule so that projects meeting consistency with a similar project are eligible to receive a permit based on the original project being granted.
RSVP Now for Summit on Master Plan
L ouisiana’s Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) and America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) will host the Summit at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on the LSU campus on February 16, 2017. The Summit’s focus is the national significance of Louisiana’s coastal master plan.
The Summit follows two leadership forums convened in October last year to address issues of making the state’s master plan operational and funded by reliable financing mechanisms. During the Summit, coastal leaders will take stock of goals set in motion 15 years ago that provided the framework and model for comprehensive large-scale restoration.
Confirmed speakers include: Governor John Bel Edwards, Former Governor Kathleen Blanco, USACE Commander, Col. Michael Clancy, and a media panel featuring NOLA.com’s Mark Schleifstein, The Lens’ Bob Marshall, Fox8’s John Snell and former Advocate reporter, Amy Wold, among others.
Executive Order Opens Prospect for Efficiencies with Restoration Projects
With Louisiana’s 2017 Master Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection soon to be in White House Logo front of the Louisiana Legislature for approval, the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today noted that a new Executive Order of the Trump Administration to streamline permitting for critical infrastructure could possibly save Louisiana billions of dollars. Making the case that an intricate web of pipelines under Louisiana wetlands must be protected for national security, coastal restoration may find increased support.
“The announcement on January 24 th by the Trump Administration citing a number of shovel ready infrastructure programs for federal funding signals a beginning of recognition that coastal energy pipeline and river infrastructure may be a part of the funding mix,” said Val Marmilion, AWF managing director. “A case can easily be made that funding for restoration of eroding wetlands in Louisiana has direct impact on protecting $100 billion in energy and navigation infrastructure critical to national security and economic stability.”
State Progress on Federal Regulation Streamlining Crucial to Coastal Restoration Success
In announcement on January 24, 2017 by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards was hailed by t he America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) as essential to coastal restoration. Word that the White House Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council rendered approval to Edwards’ request to include Louisiana’s Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project on the Federal Permitting Dashboard was welcomed as a first step in a government-wide effort to streamline the federal permitting and review process which can hamper the urgency of restoration.
Opposing Proposed Budget Cuts by LA Representative Harris
On January 23, 2017, The America’s WETLAND Foundation, joined with eight other environmental groups to oppose Rep. Harris’ proposal for state budget cuts. In particular, the opposition stems from the noted $9.3 million in cuts proposed to the Executive Department, which is home to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).
The group said in the letter ” …while some may suggest that CPRA has the money it needs to operate from the BP settlement, the truth is that those BP dollars are used to implement projects to repair the coastal areas, not to support basic staff salaries and overhead costs that are absolutely necessary to manage this work. In addition, cutting already minimal state level contributions to our coastal restoration effort reflects poorly on the State’s commitments to its Coastal Master Plan and sends the wrong signal to our federal partners.”
The letter was signed by representatives of AWF and other environmental NGOs including, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, the Mississippi River Delta Program, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin, National Wildlife Federations, Audubon Louisiana, Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, and Restore or Retreat.
Emergency permitting allowances to match rate of erosion essential to eliminating coastal restoration time and cost overruns
In a New Year letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R. King Milling, chair of America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF), says time is running out to save Louisiana’s coast and urgent, emergency action must be considered, including repairing a broken Federal permitting process.
Specifically, AWF is calling for actions that will provide incentives for private landowners which would not require them to re-title land to the Federal government for project authorization and would allow general or emergency permits for new restoration projects predicated on consistent previous activity.
Milling noted that “…in a few months the Louisiana Legislature will consider the third iteration of its Master Plan for Coastal Protection & Restoration in Louisiana. You and your colleagues at the U.S.A.C.E. have been strong and continuous partners with the state through numerous executive administrations at the Federal and state levels. I write today to ask your consideration of approving tactical guidelines that can address the need for urgency in restoring one of the nation’s most productive and threatened coastal areas.”