The latest price tag is a whopper: $80 to $100 billion to prevent losing the lower third of the state by 2050. That’s the number Louisiana state officials are citing as the current cost of coastal restoration, according to National Public Radio.

In a highly charged partisan year where political parties are in attack mode over what they perceive as the slightest weakness, Louisiana’s Republicans and Democrats speak with a united voice, urging that the fines BP will pay to the federal government go to protecting Louisiana’s wetlands.

With the national focus turning away from the Gulf of Mexico now that the immediate crisis of oil gushing into the Gulf is over, it is imperative that the state keep the need for coastal restoration in the minds of Congress. Even with the recent memory of tragedy and anguish over the loss of livelihood and culture, funding Louisiana’s coastal projects continues to be a hard sell.

“If New York state had lost an area the size of Delaware, you don’t think we’d have fixed it? I mean, it’s just ridiculous,” R. King Milling, chairman of America’s Wetland Foundation, told NPR. “When you think about it in that context, it absolutely falls within the area of ridiculousness. We should find a way as a country to fix something of this magnitude.”

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