NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) and America's WETLAND Foundation today announced the "Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities: Envisioning the Future of America's Energy Coast" initiative. The BRRC initiative was conceived as a way to help Gulf Coast communities prepare for resiliency against the threats of storms, rising sea levels and disasters like the BP oil spill.
The BRRC will be chaired by Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and co-chaired by Buddy Garcia, Commissioner, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; Dr. William W. Walker, Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources; Alabama state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures; and Alabama state Rep. Randy Davis.
The BRRC will host 12 community leadership forums in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Each community will receive local data gleaned from "Building a Resilient Energy Gulf Coast," a study commissioned by Entergy and AWF that shows the cost of doing nothing about environmental risks along America's Energy Coast could result in $350 billion in losses during the next 20 years.
"The Gulf Coast faces environmental risks that cross political, national and generational boundaries. If we do nothing, it's inevitable that the region is headed for disaster. While many in the country seem oblivious to this risk, the U.S. economy, in particular, will certainly miss us when we're gone," said Wayne Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer of Entergy. "The formation of the BRRC displays collective leadership and the necessary commitment to solve the problems threatening not just America's Energy Coast, but coastal communities everywhere."
Over the next 18 months, the AWF will compile information and recommendations from the individual communities, which will serve as the basis for resiliency plans and provide the nation with a snapshot of the urgent issues facing the Gulf Coast. Local communities will benefit from the sharing of valuable research and information on setting future planning agendas by both experts in coastal restoration and everyday citizens.
"The economic and environmental consequences of not restoring this degrading ecosystem are even greater than we thought," said R. King Milling, chairman of the America's WETLAND Foundation. "There is an urgent need to empower our local citizens to envision their futures and make critical decisions, given these facts."
The BRRC will strive to achieve the following goals:
- Sustain the ecological, economic and cultural values of Gulf Coast communities;
- Reduce risks associated with natural and man-made disasters and vulnerabilities;
- Provide communities the tools to make decisions and plans based on realistic timelines; and
- Empower communities to take decisive actions to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.
"Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast offer tremendous benefits to the nation - its seafood, offshore energy, critical navigation routes, tourism, and incomparable wildlife and marine habitats," Dardenne said. "The Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities project gives weight to the gravity of long-term consequences to those national assets if we don't act soon. Most importantly, it gives our communities the opportunity to be part of charting our own destiny as we face risks that can impact our unique culture and way of life."
The Gulf Coast's asset value is currently estimated to be more than $2 trillion and is expected to grow to more than $3 trillion by 2030.
"There is no better poster child for vulnerability than here in Plaquemines Parish," said Plaquemines Parish President, Billy Nungesser. "Repeated onslaughts of storms and man-made events such as the oil spill, demonstrate just how vulnerable we are and how the complicated mechanisms of government make it difficult for local communities to deal with these problems. Our survival depends on our ability to stop coastal land loss and this program will give our people a greater voice in their collective future."
A summary of the "Building a Resilient Energy Gulf Coast" report can be read in its entirety on Entergy's website at www.entergy.com/gulfcoastadaptation. A press conference will be held at 10 a.m. CST and can be viewed live at www.livestream.com/entergylive.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
The America's WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana's history, raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. For more information, visit www.americaswetland.com.
Entergy's online address is www.entergy.com.
SOURCE Entergy Corporation