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Administrator Wheeler Wraps Up Louisiana Swing

10/16/2018
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

NEW ORLEANS  — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler concluded his swing through the Bayou State where he addressed regional economic leaders and toured a coastal restoration site in Luling, Louisiana.

“Coastal restoration is vital to the preservation of the environmental and economic health of the Gulf Coast,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today, we saw firsthand the impact of erosion on Louisiana’s coast and the potential solutions that are possible when EPA, the RESTORE Council, NGOs, and the private sector all work together. These important restoration projects can help replenish wildlife and mitigate coastal erosion.”

Acting Administrator Wheeler was joined by Regional Administrators Trey Glenn and Anne Idsal from Region 4 and Region 6, RESTORE Council Executive Director Ben Scaggs, National Wildlife Federation Gulf Restoration Director David Muth, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Johnny Bradberry, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Chuck Carr Brown, and Restore or Retreat Executive Director Simone Maloz at Davis Pond in Luling, Louisiana.

“These kinds of projects will restore and improve water quality in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf Coast region, benefiting the Region 4 states of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi,” said Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn​.

“The health of the Gulf Coast is vital to Louisiana’s communities and economy,” said Region 6 Administrator Anne Idsal. “Successful restoration projects like this will allow the area to continue to prosper.”

“We are thankful that Acting Administrator Wheeler has come to learn more about the Mississippi River Delta, which feeds and fuels the nation and plays a central role in the overall strength of the ecology and economy of the Gulf Coast," said National Wildlife Federation Gulf Restoration Director David Muth. "We look forward to working closely with him and the Restore Council on the ongoing restoration efforts in the Gulf.”

"Here in Louisiana, seeing is believing. Restore or Retreat was grateful to work with the State to host Administrator Wheeler and his staff for a briefing and field trip to see firsthand how Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan will tackle our coastal challenges and build opportunities," said Restore or Retreat Executive Director Simone Maloz. "We look forward to building our relationship with the Administrator and Special Advisor Ken Wagner." 

Yesterday, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler also signed a final rule approving Louisiana’s Reid Vapor Pressure waiver around Baton Rouge. Meeting with Congressman Garret Graves (LA-06), they discussed how this action is a result of improvements in local air quality and beneficial for both producers and consumers across the state.

“Thanks to improvements in local air quality, EPA is approving Louisiana’s request to relax federal requirements on the type of fuel sold in the Baton Rouge area,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The final waiver, which will save Louisianans money at the gas pump, reflects the importance of working with state and local governments to provide them the certainty needed to achieve environmental goals and enhance economic growth.”

On Monday, Acting Administrator Wheeler also spoke to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry touting the Agency’s contribution to President Trump’s push for regulatory certainty. Under President Trump, EPA has finalized 26 major deregulatory actions saving Americans approximately $1.5 billion while also ensuring the protection of human health and the environment. Acting Administrator Wheeler highlighted Agency actions to provide greater certainty including the proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule, the Agency’s proposed repeal and replacement of the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule, and Regulatory Reform Task Force.

Background

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region.

In December 2017, President Trump appointed EPA as the Chair of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Members include the governors of: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as the secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior. The Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities.

Just this month, Acting Administrator Wheeler approved the Florida’s State Expenditure Plan (SEP) development by the Gulf Consortium. Submitted under the Spill Impact Component of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), the SEP will provide $291 million for 69 projects spread across 23 coastal counties to restore water quality, protect wildlife, and revitalize the Gulf economy.

Learn more about the RESTORE Council at www.restorethegulf.gov.