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Our opinion: A voice in D.C. on climate change

March 3, 2019
In The News

South Louisiana is on the front lines of the war against climate change, and now our region will have a strong and educated voice on the matter in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, whose district includes the northern portions of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, was named last week to a House committee on climate change.

“Energy production and consumption, mitigation and adaptation, and shared responsibility must be discussed if we’re truly going to be ‘global’ in this important conversation,” Graves said. “At the risk of being self-serving, there’s no better place on the planet to begin this conversation than coastal Louisiana.”

That is undeniably true. We are watching as a community of our own is being moved inland because Isle de Jean Charles is quickly vanishing into the Gulf of Mexico. We will have to deal with the impact of climate change regardless of what we do or how well we prepare and fight back, so it’s good to see a legislator from coastal Louisiana helping to guide this crucial discussion.

Graves will bring more than political clout to this important assignment. He has a history that makes him knowledgeable about the coastal issues we face and the dire challenges they present. Before he was elected to Congress, he served as chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the state agency that is set up to organize and implement the state’s coastal plan.

It is easy for political forces to separate themselves based on party considerations. But this issue cuts across both parties and affects all of us along the coast. Our ability or inability to continue living and working in south Louisiana will be affected by how well we are able to fight against the various coastal impacts of climate change.

Graves is still just one-sixth of one of the smaller state delegations in Congress, making it difficult to sway his colleagues to our side. But that makes it even more important that the partisan political restraints be forgotten. The rising waters, eroding wetlands and sinking soil are conspiring to drive us away from this place we’ve enjoyed for generations.

This issue is far more important than on which side of the aisle any particular lawmaker sits. Graves knows this, and he will be uniquely positioned to put it to use for us.

Congratulations on the appointment, and good luck on this new but promising challenge.

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.