New Poll: Louisiana Respondents Strongly Support Infrastructure Investments in American Jobs Plan to Build Resilience, Lower Costs of Hurricanes and Flooding
(Washington, D.C. – June 7, 2021) As the Atlantic hurricane season kicks off this month, a new poll finds a majority of Louisiana respondents support funding natural infrastructure investments as part of the American Jobs Plan to build resilience and lower the loss of life and high financial cost of recovering from hurricanes and flooding.
EDF Action, the advocacy partner of the Environmental Defense Fund, commissioned Morning Consult to conduct the survey. The poll gauges the opinions of people living in Louisiana on hurricanes and flooding, their costs and the solutions federal and state governments can implement to help mitigate the devastating impact of disasters and build long-term resilience.
- An overwhelming majority of respondents are concerned about hurricanes (96%) and flooding (97%) with 76% (hurricanes) and 77% (flooding) of respondents saying the costs of clean up and recovery has increased.
- 80% of respondents support preventive measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters before they occur, this includes 86% of Republicans along with 84% of suburban respondents and 77% of rural respondents.
- Two thirds of respondents support funding natural infrastructure as part of the American Jobs Plan, with 68% of Republicans in favor as well as 70% of coastal respondents and 73% of inland respondents.
- 80% of respondents support natural infrastructure solutions to reduce flood risk, such as restored barrier islands, wetlands and marshes, including 84% of Republicans, 84% of coastal respondents and 83% of inland respondents.
Explore the polling memo here.
“Louisianans are deeply aware of the impact hurricanes and flooding have had on our state. As we begin another season, with many areas still recovering from last year’s barrage of hurricanes, Louisianans want our leaders to support restoring the coast to help protect us from storm surge and flooding,” said Steve Cochran, EDF Action AVP Coastal Resilience. “This poll shows that Louisianans also support investments by Congress and the Biden Administration in these priorities as part of the American Jobs Plan. There is a tremendous opportunity for the federal government to fund some of the most effective natural infrastructure projects in the country through Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. Right here in Louisiana, we can tackle climate change, invest in solutions that build resilience for all communities and create good-paying jobs.”
Coastal communities are still reeling from the onslaught of hurricanes during last year’s record-breaking 2020 season, while experts predict another active season this year. 2020 was the most active hurricane season ever recorded. Several places in Louisiana - a state that was hit by five storms including two major hurricanes - are still recovering. Through rising sea levels and warmer air and water, climate change is making hurricanes more powerful and dangerous. Louisiana is no stranger to disasters. The state has had emergency flood disasters declared in every parish at least twice over the last 20 years.
Leaders at the state and federal government can act now to make investments that protect people, infrastructure and ecosystems from hurricanes and flooding, every $1 spent on disaster mitigation saves $6 in disaster recovery. One key solution should include fortifying our coastal natural infrastructure — such as barrier islands and wetlands — to serve as a first line of defense against storms and sea level rise. A study from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) found that a square kilometer of wetlands is worth approximately $1.8 million a year on average in storm protection.
Extreme weather events are getting more destructive and costly because of human-caused climate change, according to an EDF report commissioned last year by Datu Research that tabulates U.S. government statistics on the subject. Average annual costs of extreme weather have quadrupled since the 1980s, for a total of $1.75 trillion, with taxpayers footing much of the cost. The tangible costs of severe weather events are falling directly on American families. And they’re falling disproportionately on people of color – for example, one year after Hurricane Harvey’s $130 billion devastation, 27% of Hispanics and 20% Blacks in Texas still had homes that were unsafe to live in, compared with 11% of whites.