President Nungesser Speaks at America’s Wetland Forum
Federal "cookie cutter" regulations that hamper coastal protection and restoration projects must be changed if the Gulf Coast region is to meet the challenges of increasingly stronger storms and disasters, said participants in America's WETLAND Foundation's Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities Forum held on May 28, 2012.
In discussing what must be done to restore Louisiana's rapidly disappearing wetlands and shore up protection systems from Texas to Alabama, participants in the forum zeroed in on blanket federal regulations that require any project in the wetlands to be "mitigated," even if the original projects aids coastal restoration or protection.
"We have got to change the process," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, one of 80 participants in the forum, which Tuesday concentrated on the New Orleans-Jefferson Parish area. "We shouldn't be held to mitigation when we're trying to replace what's out there, and that's what's happening."
Entergy Corp. presented results of a $4.2 million study that showed that annual economic losses to assets in Orleans and Jefferson Parish could nearly double over 20 years, with $878 million in predicted annual losses in 2010 growing to $1.5 billion annually by 2030, with climate change.
Across the four energy-producing states - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, those annual losses could total $350 billion by 2030, said Jeff Williams, director of climate consulting for Entergy Corp. "We can reduce those losses and take the worst outcomes off the table," Williams said.