Gov. Edwards visits Lake Charles to discuss recent severe weather damage

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks Thursday, May 6, 2021, in Lake Charles, La. (AP...
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks Thursday, May 6, 2021, in Lake Charles, La. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(Alex Brandon | AP)
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 8:26 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, La. (KPLC) - Gov. John Bel Edwards arrived in Lake Charles this morning to hold a news conference where he discussed the recent damage from severe weather as well as the future of Louisiana’s energy industry in regards to climate change.

Gov. Edwards says he’s thankful the damage wasn’t worse considering what Southwest Louisiana has already been through considering last year’s natural disasters.

When it comes to additional disaster recovery funds for Southwest Louisiana he says, “Don’t get me wrong, we very much appreciate the $596 million and we’re gonna do the very best with every dollar that we get to make the strongest impact on our recovery. But we don’t think it’s enough.”

He says the state is taking advantage of any opportunity they can to get more funds to help rebuild, “And so, we do have an opportunity we believe over the next month or so to influence what the appropriation looks like in early December. And early December is the next target because that’s when the federal government is scheduled to shut down, absent an appropriation that keeps it open. So, there will be an appropriations instrument and we’re working with our congressional delegation, with the white house, and with leadership across congress in order to increase the appropriation. Not just as it relates to hurricane Ida but also with respect to Southwest Louisiana.”

Before leaving to take part in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the governor also spoke at length about Louisiana’s role in that conversation.

Gov. Edwards explained how climate change affects Louisiana and what role the state’s energy industry has to play as it continues to diversify with more renewable energy resources, “There is no doubt in my mind that the weather events we are seeing here in Louisiana, across the country, and across the world are becoming more severe and more frequent. I believe this is being driven by climate change. And I believe we have an obligation to do what we can to make sure we reduce our carbon footprint and that fewer greenhouse gasses are emitted so that we can limit the degree to which temperature continues to increase. Warm waters is what fuels these storms.”

But the governor also noted that this process is a slow and gradual transition that could take several decades while mentioning that fossil fuels will never go away completely. But he says that the future is inevitably moving towards more renewable forms of energy and that the state will need to secure investments in these industries to remain competitive and create good-paying jobs.

He says Louisiana is already working to diversify its industry. One of these projects was the recently announced Air Products facility which is a $4.5 billion clean energy complex in Eastern Louisiana that will be the world’s largest blue hydrogen facility.

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