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Edwards To Send Millions In Surplus To State’s Coastal Program

Governor John Bel Edwards made the announcement at the LSU Center for River Studies in Baton Rouge.

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that he plans to put some of the state’s surplus money toward the coastal program, but first needs approval from state officials.


The state of Louisiana ended fiscal year 2018 with an extra $300 million. At an event on Wednesday, Edwards said he plans to dedicate $55 million of that extra cash to coastal restoration and protection, but legally can’t until state officials recognize the funds.

Edwards said about $30 million will be used to help fund the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain project -- an 18 mile hurricane protection levee that will protect St. John the Baptist, St. James, and St. Charles Parishes from storm surge in Lake Pontchartrain. $15 million will go toward the state’s coastal trust fund, and $10 million will be used to enhance restoration projects that are already underway.

Edwards touted his decision as proof of his dedication to the coast. “This action show that I’m living up to the pledge that I made to the people of Louisiana,” he said, “that dollars within the coastal trust fund will be used for their intended purpose along the coast for restoration and protection projects.”

Edwards also highlighted the fact that the state would be spending close to $300 million on hurricane protection projects over the next three years. That money comes from oil and gas revenues, under a federal law known as the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA).

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Foundation for Louisiana, and local listeners.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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