I have been the executive director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) for over 25 years. LEAN began as a network of individuals and organizations from all across Louisiana who came together because they were dealing with some sort of environmental problem and no one else was supporting them or effectively addressing their concerns.
It is both inspiring and uplifting to see the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East do what should have been done by our state decades ago. That is, ensure that industrial activity that damages Louisiana’s coast and increases our communities’ vulnerability to flooding is remediated in a way that repairs whatever damage that industry is responsible for causing.
Over the past 25 years, LEAN has had the opportunity to assist countless individuals and communities who face threats to their health, livelihood and local environment. In nearly all of these circumstances there has been a struggle between a community facing a threat and a responsible party unwilling to fully acknowledge or address the impacts they have had on the environment. This disagreement often results in conflict that misinterprets concern for a community’s health and sustainability as anti-industry or extreme environmentalism.
Louisiana faces some extreme challenges and if we are working to build a better home for ourselves and our children it is imperative that anyone who negatively impacts the safety and sustainability of our communities is held accountable. There is nothing controversial about responsibility.
I would like to personally thank the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East for its courage to take action to protect our communities. In order for us to address the coastal crisis in Louisiana, all parties must be fully engaged in the solutions. We all have to do our part, including every industry, agency and citizen responsible for any part of the damage.
I have worked with hundreds of people who understand the impacts of an industry neglecting its responsibilities. I know these people, myself, and LEAN stands with the SLFPA-E in their efforts to protect our home.
Marylee Orr, executive director
Louisiana Environmental Action Network