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Hundreds take shelter from the summer sun at the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion groundbreaking ceremony south of Belle Chasse, Louisiana on Thursday, August 10, 2023. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com)

Your coverage of the Plaquemines Parish lawsuits that are aimed at stopping the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion has shown the importance of strong journalism. Bravo. What I find astounding is that these lawsuits have almost no legal basis whatsoever, yet construction of the project has been halted. How crazy is that?

We all know that parishes like Plaquemines, which are most exposed to the power of hurricanes that have already eaten up most of the parish wetlands, have only a few decades before most of the remaining land is devoured, unless the diversions succeed in building new lands and in reinforcing those areas well into the future. Doing nothing means certain death for coastal areas. Without the diversion, property in the parish will be uninsurable.

Louisiana has spent over a decade conducting scientific studies, public hearings, plans to compensate commercial interests and outreach to isolated communities. We have reached the conclusion that large-scale diversions are essential to survival. A huge majority of Louisiana citizens agree, including Plaquemines residents. But a small, disgruntled and vulnerable minority are fighting hard to stop the public interest in getting this project built before it is too late.

Louisiana needs this diversion (and others) now, not after baseless legal challenges have delayed construction and wasted over $700 million that would be lost by the cancellation of the project. It is time for citizens with common sense to tell their elected leaders to act responsibly, to throw out the lawsuits and build the project that is the linchpin of our plan to preserve as much of the coast as possible.

Don't let the selfishness of special interests delay construction of the Mid-Barataria Diversion. We need the governor, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the attorney general to take action. Gov. Jeff Landry, we need you to show leadership now.

ROBERT GARDINER?

New Orleans

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