Louisiana Executive Order Number JBE 2020-19 on Coastal Resilience
In August 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order (EO) Number JBE 2020-19 to require all state agencies to pursue Louisiana's coastal protection and adaptation goals and incorporate resilience planning into every state agency's operations. To accomplish these goals, the governor established the position of Chief Resilience Officer and resilience leads in each state agency to coordinate actions with Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan to make the coast more resilient in the face of climate change. The EO provides that "the full breadth of tools, expertise, and missions of Louisiana's various state agencies must be brought to bear to more fully and more directly address the economic and social implications of Louisiana's degrading coast" stemming from both disaster events and coastal change.
Louisiana and its citizens have experienced significant losses and human, economic, and social harm as a result of flooding and coastal change, and those harms are projected to continue. Specifically, over 2.5 million people residing on Louisiana's coast will be exposed to flooding events and coastal change as Louisiana continues to lose land at one of the fastest rates in the world. In response to these threats, the EO directs the following actions.
First, the governor established the position of "Chief Resilience Officer" within the Office of the Governor to facilitate interagency efforts to increase coastal resilience. The Chief Resilience Officer is charged with:
(1) leading efforts to assess the vulnerability of the state's assets and projects to coastal change;
(2) supporting agencies as they update their work to account for coastal change projections; and
(3) convening and collaborating with groups of agencies to develop coastal change adaptation initiatives that support coastal residents and businesses.
Further, each agency must appoint a resilience coordinator to lead the agency's adaptation and resilience efforts. State agency resilience coordinators will collaborate with the Chief Resilience Officer to facilitate cross-agency efforts to increase coastal resilience. Additionally, through this EO, the governor is requiring all state agencies, departments, and offices to operate consistent with public interest and the Coastal Master Plan. The 2017 Coastal Master Plan provides a 50-year blueprint for directing Louisiana's investments, regulations, and programs in coastal restoration, resilience, and protection. A new Coastal Master Plan is developed every five years.
Second, state agencies must develop a vulnerability assessment that incorporates data from the Coastal Master Plan and must also identify potential adaptation solutions to reduce agency vulnerability to coastal change and disaster events.
Third, the EO requires all agencies to incorporate their vulnerability assessments into their policies and strategic plans. Further, the EO requires that within two years, each agency must publish an updated strategic resilience plan. Agency strategic resilience plans must:
- Incorporate information from the Coastal Master Plan into all agency planning and investments;
- Detail resilience strategies specific to each agency;
- Prioritize projects that increase resilience and provide timelines for proposed projects;
- Identify funding sources for proposed resilience-building projects;
- Identify barriers to resilience-building actions and describe how to remove those barriers; and
- Acknowledge the disproportionate impacts of coastal change among Louisiana's frontline communities and consider how adaptation activities may address historical and ongoing inequities.
Finally, all agencies must report the results of their vulnerability assessments to the governor and explain how their strategic resilience plans support the goals of the Coastal Master Plan. Agencies are required to update their strategic resilience plans within a year of the adoption of each subsequent Coastal Master Plan.
Publication Date: August 19, 2020
- Executive order