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Poll Finds Louisiana Voters Concerned About Climate Change

Erosion, saltwater intrusion and sea level rise threaten communities on the coast, like this one in lower Lafourche Parish.
Tegan Wendland
Erosion, saltwater intrusion and sea level rise threaten communities on the coast, like this one in lower Lafourche Parish.

Seventy percent of the roughly 1,000 people polled by Global Strategy Group (GSG) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in July said coastal flooding and hurricanes were affecting them and their families. Residents of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes were especially concerned.

Nearly 90 percent said that stronger hurricanes and increased coastal flooding are already having a serious impact on the state. The poll also found that 66 percent of voters believe climate change is already having a serious impact.

“Louisianans are feeling the effects of flooding and land loss today and are deeply concerned about a future with fewer wetlands, more intense hurricanes and higher seas,” said Steve Cochran, EDF associate vice president for coastal resilience.

The survey also explored public support for the planned Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton Mississippi River diversion projects. Forty percent of respondents had not heard of the restoration projects, of those who had, the majority were in support.

The $2 billion project has recently come under fire from local officials who fear the impacts on the environment and seafood industry.

An environmental impact study by the Army Corps of Engineers this spring found that the project would construct nearly 50 square miles of wetlands over 50 years, and while it would threaten some habitat for species like dolphins and oysters, the loss would be worth the gain.

The majority of poll respondents agreed that it was imperative the state have a plan to restore the coast, which it does, in the form of the Coastal Master Plan.

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

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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