Great leadership by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and great execution by Bayou project leader Garret Graves have thrust the state into an environmental management role to be envied. Come to think of it, has any state governor matched Bobby Jindal’s record over the past few years? Jindal has put the residents of Louisiana first. Here writing at National Review, David M. Rothschild outlines for readers the fabulous Bayou leadership and execution put forward by Jindal and Graves.
In 2008, newly elected governor Bobby Jindal tapped Graves to head up the CPRA. Graves returned to Baton Rouge and started to dig into the mishmash of agencies, programs, and boards charged with restoring the coast. His team found over two dozen different levee districts and five state agencies with a stake in the coast. Including federal, state, local, and private sources for coastal rebuilding, there were almost 40 funding streams to turn into a rational overall approach.
“If we were going to be prepared for another Katrina-like situation,” Graves decided, “we were going to have to have a more streamlined approach to how this mission is carried out.”
That meant moving beyond logrolling and sheer political muscle in determining which coastal infrastructure projects the state should fund and instead using cost-benefit analysis, a systems approach, and a transparent and open process for thinking about projects to undertake.
But 2010 crystalized the sense of urgency — and catapulted the CPRA and Graves into higher political prominence. On April 20, a BP-operated oil rig exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killing eleven men and spewing million of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the coming months.
Louisiana’s coastline was by far the hardest hit in the five Gulf states, accounting for about half of the total oiled coastline. Governor Jindal’s office claims that when discounting “trace oiling” (places where only trivial amounts of oil were found), Louisiana’s shoreline suffered 99 percent of the burden.