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Politico.com raved about climate change denying (Garret) Graves, while the Economist.com saw right through him.

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Sixth district Congressman Garret Graves, who blames all of our coastal woes on the feds.

Sixth district Congressman Garret Graves, who blames all of our coastal woes on the feds.

by Len Bahr, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: This post was written in September, after Hurricanes Harvey. Irma and Maria. It was inadvertently put on the shelf, where tt’s been gathering dust ever since.

In October 2008, 9 months into the Jindal administration, I was terminated from the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities at the behest of Garret Graves, now Louisiana’s congressman from the 6th district. During the intervening time period I’ve been increasingly proud of and happy with that decision. I did not see eye to eye with Mr. Graves (or his former boss Jindal) and the feeling was clearly mutual. This October 19 piece in Nola.com | TheTimes-Picayune, complete with a videoclip, describes a revealing attempt at humor by Mr. Graves that provides a pretty good indication of his intellect and political savvy.

I call to your attention two highly contradictory articles on Louisiana’s dystopian coast, both from prominent and usually credible journal/websites. On the positive side The Economist posted an article titled Louisiana fights the sea and loses. In accordance with standard policy of The Economist, this factual, well-researched and clearly written piece doesn’t identify its author. Nevertheless, it presents a realistic and candid summary of Louisiana’s coastal crises and calls attention to the hypocritical denial of climate change by Louisiana GOP officials, particularly by our aforementioned 6th district Representative Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge).

The author of the Economist piece interviewed various coastal officials, including the new Director of The Water Institute of the Gulf (TWIG), who is quoted in the following passage:

“No other state has a science-based, environmental restoration and protection project of this rigour,” says Justin Ehrenwerth, a former member of Barack Obama’s administration, who now runs the Water Institute of the Gulf, a research outfit in Baton Rouge dedicated to mitigating coastal erosion.

In striking contrast I now call to your attention a lengthy, naive and poorly-researched article posted to Politico.com titled Why America Still Hasn’t Learned the Lessons of Katrina. This piece by a fellow Marylander, a journalist named Annie Snider, takes as gospel the word of some of these same politicos, focusing once again on Mr. Graves. This glowing piece, never balanced with an alternative point of view, reads like a partisan reelection blurb for Graves’ 2018 congressional campaign. The central thesis of Snider’s essay (and Graves’ philosophy) is that Louisiana’s coastal problems have not been self-inflicted but have primarily been foisted on a poor state and unwilling victim by the hateful federal government.

I submitted the following heartfelt comments to the Politico author and (unsurprisingly) received no feedback:

Dear Ms. Snider,
As a Maryland native and once Chesapeake Bay researcher, credentialed coastal ecologist, former LSU Marine Science professor, veteran of 25 years’ worth of direct involvement with Louisiana’s coastal restoration program, former coastal advisor to five Louisiana governors, and nine year editor/publisher of this non-profit coastal blog, I take strong exception to many of the points made in your article on Louisiana coastal dysfunction. I was particularly offended by your fawning tribute to our Congressman Garret Graves and three other folks quoted in your piece, all of whom I’ve known for many years.
I apologize for my bluntness but, with all due respect, I think that you’ve been totally snookered by a glib, ruthless, ambitious, self-serving, hypocritical, climate change-denying politician. If you’d like to discuss specific issues please call or email at your convenience. I promise to be polite!
Len Bahr, Ph.D.
225 921-9054 

Editor’s note: Politico.com somewhat redeemed itself for Annie Snider’s misleading article with an August 28 article by credible climate change authority Eric Holthaus, on the real lessons of Hurricane Harvey.

Further redemption was achieved by the publication by Politico.com on September 8 on a must-read article on the development of the Florida peninsula by its noted reporter (and Miami resident) Michael Grunwald, formerly a writer for The Washington Post and Time Magazine.

While we’re on the subject of places not to live, also on September 8 Nola.com | TheTimes-Picayune published the bleakest column that I’ve read about living in Louisiana by my colleague Bob Mann from the Manship School of Journalism at LSU.

Also, on September 8, before the ravages of Hurricane Maria, Vox.com published a distressing article by David Roberts on the fanatical denial of climate change by conservative politicos. Roberts points out the pointlessness of attempting to change minds on this issue with logical arguments. I contend that the formal ongoing program to restore Louisiana coast (America’s Delta) will be moot within a few years, absent a significant global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a concept unsupported by our entire congressional delegation, with the sole exception of (my) 2nd district Congressman Cedric Richmond.

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  1. Editor’s note:
    On November 7 theadvocate.com published an article by Elizabeth Crisp featuring the following telling comment on our coastal crisis by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
    “The problems that Louisiana faces in regards to its coastal erosion problem is mainly attributed to the Corps of Engineers and the national policy that was designed to protect the Mississippi River in its current state,” Landry said. “Louisiana’s coastal problem has nothing to do with climate change.”
    http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/article_82ea2d86-c3dc-11e7-b14e-63506e8c10f3.html
    Landry got this idiotic idea from Congressman Garret Graves. Way to go Garret.

  2. MIKE ROBICHAUX says:

    Dear Len:

    Great article. Thanks for pointing out that the entire Louisiana delegation, both House and Senate, (with the exception of Cedrid Richmond) have wholeheartedly endorsed the absurd position that global warming is a Hoax Perpetrated by…..Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore……………..
    Our two Senators are already vying for the coveted Title of D&D. (Dumb and Dishonest)

    Keep up the great work, my friend.

    Mike

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