Oil Companies Invest To Protect Billion-Dollar Assets Along Louisiana's Vanishing Coast

By some estimates, it will cost up to $90 billion to restore the state's coastline over the next 50 years — and the private sector is making an effort to stem the crisis.
A crop duster drops black mangrove propagules over marshland near Port Fourchon, La., in an effort to offset coastal erosion. (Courtesy ConocoPhillps)

Sarah Mack pilots her 24-foot boat to the edge of a grassy salt marsh in southern Louisiana to bring a slow-moving, $90 billion crisis to life.

Tierra Resources, a wetland restoration company, planted plastic poles at the edge of the marsh more than a year ago. Today, those poles stand alone in the water — at least 6 feet from the shore.

“And this is a more protected site,” says Mack, who started Tierra Resources after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. “This is not bad erosion.”

The vanishing land belongs to ConocoPhillips

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
A Record Number Of People Were Displaced In 2017 For 5th Year In A Row
An average of 44,000 people were displaced every day, or one person every two seconds, according to a United Nations report. Conflict is the biggest factor driving displacement.
NPR4 min readFood & Wine
As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops Are Losing Nutrients
As the level of carbon dioxide in the air rises because of climate change, scientists are trying to pin down how plants are impacted. There's evidence that it's changing many important plants we eat.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Trump Threatens Tariffs On $200 Billion Of Chinese Goods
In the latest move in a nascent trade war, the president announced he wanted to impose a 10 percent tariff on more Chinese products, in addition to the $50 billion announced Friday.