With the state’s announcement that offshore oil and gas revenue received through GOMESA will be half of what was anticipated, it is critical we attract private investment to sponsor wetland restoration projects. This panel, sponsored by the America’s WETLAND Foundation, will discuss problems arising from these funding issues and discuss the potential solution- private investment.
- Chip Kline, Deputy Director of Coastal Activities- Office of the Governor Chip Kline is a native of Louisiana and a 2003 graduate of LSU. Immediately after college he went to work in Washington, D.C., as a special assistant to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas. Kline returned to Louisiana upon the election of Gov. Bobby Jindal to serve as policy adviser for coastal activities in the governor’s office under Garret Graves. In 2011 he became Deputy Director and continued in that position until he was appointed the governor’s Executive Assistant and Chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board in February 2015. He currently serves under Governor John Bel Edwards as the Deputy Director for Coastal Activities in the Office of the Governor. Kline represents the State of Louisiana as the governor’s designee under the federal RESTORE Act’s Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. He also serves on the La. Oyster Task Force and the Atchafalaya Research and Promotion Board.
- Jim Blackburn, Professor in the Practice in Environmental Law, Rice University
Jim Blackburn has been a practicing environmental lawyer and planner since 1973. He is a Professor in the Practice in Environmental Law in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rice University, where he teaches courses in sustainable design and advanced sustainable design and is the Director of the Undergraduate Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability. Blackburn is the Co-Director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center at Rice. He is also a Rice Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute and is the owner of a planning firm called Sustainable Planning and Design. Blackburn authored The Book of Texas Bays, published in 2004 by Texas A&M Press, and he has written a new book, A Texan Plan for the Texas Coast, published by Texas A&M Press in September 2017. In 2009 he published a book of poems and paintings with his co-author, artist Isabelle Chapman, titled Birds: A Book of Verse and Vision. He has also authored numerous legal papers and has received several local, state and national awards for environmental advocacy.
Rick Johnson, Director, Environmental Strategy & Policy
- Valsin Marmillion, Managing Director, America’s WETLAND Foundation (moderator) Marmillion has managed the work of the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) since 2002. AWF serves as a respected Gulf Coast voice for preserving the environmental, economic and community assets of the region. By providing a balanced forum for consensus building, AWF has been recognized for its relentless pursuit of shared solutions through projects to restore the coast and initiatives to ensure political will through significant public engagement. Marmillion has a long history of service to state and local governments, foundations and nonprofits, having, provided strategic planning, communications, media outreach, branding and public awareness campaigns in this arena for more than 25 years. He is recipient of over 100 national communications awards.