Louisiana Withholds $39 Million in NOLA Flood Protection Funds Over Abortion

People wait for transportation after being rescued from a flooded neighborhood in Louisiana
People wait for transportation after being rescued from a flooded neighborhood after Hurricane Ida made landfall southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, on Aug. 30, 2021. Scott Olson / Getty Images
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A Louisiana state commission is holding $39 million in New Orleans flood control funds hostage after city officials voiced opposition to the state’s abortion ban, despite not having any operating abortion clinics in the city anyway.

The Louisiana State Bond Commission has rejected — twice, both times at the urging of Jeff Landry, the state’s GOP attorney general eyeing a run for governor — a line of credit for a power station to operate drainage pumps that would protect 384,000 New Orleans residents from flooding. The state abortion ban, which does not include exceptions for rape or incest, is being used to prevent pregnant people from obtaining medical care even when their fetus has no chance of survival.

Climate change makes extreme precipitation events and major hurricanes worse and more frequent, and the pumps to be replaced were built during the Taft presidency.

“The torrential rains have become much more frequent, and flooding that used to be caused by a tropical storm or a hurricane we are now seeing with just 3 to 4 inches of rain in no time whatsoever,” said Paul Rainwater, a(n aptly named) lobbyist representing New Orleans and its sewage and water board. “When a warning goes out that we have a thunderstorm going through, we could have flash flooding, and in some parts of the city, you may see 2 to 3 feet of water,” Rainwater, a self-described “pro-life, Catholic and Republican,” told E&E News.

For a deeper dive:

POLITICO and E&E News; Louisiana Law: (WION, WAFB, Axios, CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian, People; Climate Signals background: Flooding, Extreme precipitation increase, Hurricanes)

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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