Wednesday, October 20, 2010

US land loss in Gulf of Mexico coast could add up to $350 billion by 2030

Mark Schleifstein in the New Orleans Times-Picayune: Economic losses along the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama caused by rising seas, subsidence and hurricane damage could total $350 billion by 2030, if no steps are taken to counteract the effects of subsidence and global warming, according to a new report commissioned by Entergy Corp. and the America's WETLAND Foundation.

Taking the most sure steps to counteract those losses during the next 20 years could cost $50 billion, but could reduce storm loses by $135 billion over the lifetime of the improvements. Pursuing all potentially attractive actions would cost $120 billion over 20 years, but could save $200 billion over their lifetime, the study said. The study estimates that $44 billion of that cost would be shouldered by public agencies, and the rest would come through private investment.

The wide variety of protective steps suggested by the report range from stronger building codes and roof improvements for residential and commercial buildings; 20-foot levees around power plants, refineries, natural gas processing facilities and chemical plants; similar levees around high-risk clusters of residences and businesses; strengthened designs of offshore oil exploration and production facilities; and a variety of coastal restoration measures…..

Vermilion Parish, LA, October 4, 2002 -- An aerial view of the flooded roads and fields in Louisiana are shown after Hurricane Lili came ashore the Louisiana coast. Photo by Jason Pack/FEMA News Photo

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