As Chairman of the Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy (CCRE), I wanted to take a moment to introduce the coalition and give an update about the traction we’ve made in our first year. Launched in July 2014 by the economic development organization Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), CCRE is a business-led coalition tasked with creating an educated, informed voice of advocacy for sustainable restoration efforts in Louisiana’s wetlands, rivers, deltas, and coastline. It is made up of non-partisan, Southeastern Louisiana business leaders that believe investing in smart restoration today will ensure continuing economic opportunities in the future. CCRE will advocate for policies that promote, protect and drive resources to Louisiana’s coast.
In the last year, CCRE members and I have participated in several unique coastal experiences, including seaplane and boat tours of Louisiana’s coastline, designed to increase awareness of the needs, opportunities and plans for coastal protection and restoration. We’ve met with government officials, including U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise, to collaborate and discuss the most effective ways to utilize RESTORE Act funds to revive and protect Louisiana’s wetlands and coastline. As we approach the Katrina Anniversary, coastal restoration and resilience is bound to be a part of the media coverage about the region’s recovery over the last ten years. In fact, there was a terrific piece in the New York Times recently “How to Save a Sinking Coast: Katrina Created a Laboratory.” To ensure that the narrative around coastal issues is appropriately framed—furthering the region’s position as an international leader in resiliency and restoration—GNO, Inc., on behalf of the CCRE, is reaching proactively to media via coastal overflights, interviews and panel briefings. Also, GNO, Inc. Chairman Michael Hecht and I penned a Letter to the Editor and submitted it to the New York Times, providing additional context to the recent John Barry story, “Is New Orleans Safe?” Restoring the wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico coastline is arguably the region’s most pressing environmental and economic issue. With the coming influx of funding from the RESTORE Act and other oil spill-related settlements, CCRE has a unique opportunity to ensure the continued prosperity and sustainability of Southeast Louisiana. Now is the perfect time to implement smart, long-lasting solutions to improve the coastline, communities and economy. I am excited about the role the business community will play in this effort.