Environmental Group: La. Voters Support Sediment Diversions

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – There is widespread, bipartisan support for action to address Louisiana’s urgent land loss crisis through large-scale coastal restoration projects, according to a new poll released today by Global Strategy Group (GSG) on behalf of Restore the Mississippi River Delta. An overwhelming 73 percent of Louisiana coastal voters support sediment diversions that address coastal restoration, up from 68 percent in 2021. Support is not limited to the coast; the same number of voters support diversions statewide (73 percent).

As Louisianians face impacts of stronger storms, rising sea levels and reduced protections from degraded wetlands, more than half (54 percent) of voters in the state believe coastal land loss will have a direct impact on them in the next 10 years.

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands. The state stands to lose an additional 4,000 square miles in the next 50 years without additional action on restoration and protection projects from the state’s Coastal Master Plan. A nearly unanimous 95 percent of voters agree the state should work to preserve as much coastal land as possible, even if restoring the state to its original footprint is not possible.

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Louisiana voters also largely approve of how the state is tackling its land loss crisis, with 92 percent agreeing it is important to have a comprehensive plan to deal with land loss using the latest science. A robust 80 percent of voters statewide support the use of sediment diversions, a cornerstone of the state’s Coastal Master Plan.

“Louisianans understand how land loss, flooding, stronger storms and higher seas stand to impact them in their lifetimes. This poll also shows they understand the solutions we need to advance coastal restoration, with voters enthusiastically supporting both our state’s Coastal Master Plan process and the need for sediment diversions to build and maintain coastal wetlands,” said Simone Maloz, campaign director of Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “This research also reinforces what we are hearing in communities: voters across the state – including in coastal regions – clearly support sediment diversions as an effective way to both build new wetlands and protect and sustain nearby areas.”

“We conducted polling similar to this among coastal voters two years ago, and I was surprised to see the extremely strong cross-partisan level of support for coastal restoration then, especially at a time when we hear often about how divided America is,” said Andrew Baumann, partner at GSG. “Well, Louisiana is not divided on the issue of coastal restoration and the large-scale sediment diversion projects that are the centerpieces of the state’s plans. The level of support was very high in 2021, and it’s only gotten stronger since then. To call this a consensus would be an understatement.” 

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Coastal Louisiana’s ability to withstand hurricane storm surge and sea level rise drives voters’ support for sediment diversions. Further, the affordability, or lack thereof, of homeowners’ insurance is another compelling argument in favor of sediment diversions. Coastal wetlands are widely considered Louisiana’s best defense against hurricane storm surge and sea level rise, but the combination of land loss and more frequent and severe storms are leaving the state increasingly vulnerable – and making it harder for Louisianians to insure their homes, making life in the state less affordable for families that have been here for generations.

“Sediment diversions are the best and most sustainable solution to protect Louisiana’s communities from storm surges and coastal flooding and help make living in the state less expensive,” Maloz said. “Voters understand these diversions are an essential component of our restoration plans.”

Methodology:

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Global Strategy Group conducted a phone survey of 800 registered voters in Louisiana plus an oversample to achieve 1,431 total voters including 1,054 coastal Louisiana voters between March 7 and March 14, 2023. At least 150 interviews were conducted in each region of interest comprised of the following parishes: 300 in Orleans and Jefferson; 150 in Ascension, East and West Baton Rouge, and Livingston; 150 in St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington; 153 in Lafourche, St. Mary, and Terrebonne; 151 in St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist; and 150 in St. Bernard and Plaquemines. In the combined data, each region was weighted to be proportional to its share of registered voters within the state. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is not greater than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the overall sample and not greater than plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for the coastal sample.

To learn more about the 2023 polling results visit, https://mississippiriverdelta.org/louisiana-coastal-issues-poll-2023/

 

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