From Planning to Implementing: Law and Policy as both Catalyst and Inhibitor for Coastal Adaptation

Authors: Christopher Dalbom*, Tulane University Law School
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Planning Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Law, Policy, coastal
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon D3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Louisiana has become a treasure trove of coastal science and planning, but coastal adaptation is shaped by law and policy from cradle to grave. Law and policy shape what problems are acknowledged, what questions are asked, who has the authority to ask them, what solutions are possible, and who has the power to implement or fund any plans or programs.
This work takes a cadre of dedicated, publically-spirited, transactionally-minded lawyers who are well-grounded in geography (whether they know it or not). An understanding of scale is needed to navigate our federal system where issues play out at local, regional, state, and national levels of law and decision-making. Any efforts to engage law or policy to catalyze coastal adaption must take into account cultural, economic, and physical realities of the locations and people being asked to adapt.
This paper intends to highlight the number of ways in which law and policy must be used to make coastal adaptation go from planning to reality and the ways in which lawyers doing this work depend on geographic concepts to be most effective in their work, and encourage others to apply their geography background to law and policy to engage in the complex work of making reality the many multibillion dollar plans needed for coastal adaptation.

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