Bayou Calvinist

A Somewhat Eclectic Discussion by a Law Student Concerning All of Today's Major Topics, as well as, a Few Not So Major Topics

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My disappearing Home...

As anyone from south Louisiana can tell you the amount of coastal erosion which the state has experienced is astounding. Even within my relatively short memory there have been many islands, beaches and marsh banks which have disappeared into the murky Gulf waters. There has been a great legislative effort afoot in the past few years to receive federal funds for implementation of coastal conservation plans. The exact cause of the land loss is still debated. Some experts believe the problem can be almost solely blamed on the many canals that crisscross south Louisiana's marshes, which were built to provide access and transportation routes for the state's oil and gas deposits...but which the experts argue have allowed too much saltwater to invade far in-land, killing off the aquatic plants which act as a spiderweb to hold the land together. Other experts cite the roll of the Mississippi River Levees which have acted to redirect the silt laden waters away from South Louisiana and instead dump tons of possible new land off the continental shelf ofs the northern Gulf of Mexico. Still other experts see the land loss as a natural inevitability that is pointless in fighting (in other words all attempts to save the coast are just big wastes of time and money). Louisiana politicians, as would be expected, have pegged their bets on one of the first two causes and now propose fresh water diversion prjects that they expect to add tons of silt to the deteriorating coast while also reinvigorating the vegetation that was once prevalent in Louisiana's marshes. My personal guess is that the cause of this land loss is a combination of all theories (in what %'s I haven't a clue). Much credit for the current restoration/conservation plans should go to all of Louisiana's national legislators, but specifically former Senator Breaux, current Senator Landrieu and since his recent election Senator Vitter. Seeing as how I am a big time supporter of Bobby Jindal, representative from Louisiana's 1st district, I like to mention his recent lobbying on behalf of a House bill to allow Louisiana to share in the oil and gas royalties from wells off of Louisiana's coast which as of now goes to the Federal government. By making a connection between oil revenues and the continued existence of Louisiana's coast, this bill effectively demonstrates the immense value of Louisiana's coast to the state and nation while also high-lighting one of the erosion's possible causes--oil well development (canals dredged to reach oil and gas wells). Initially under tremendous pressure and today with greater cooperation the oil companies have changed their practices and no longer create such canals.


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