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BATON ROUGE, La. -- With the erosion of the coastline and loss of Louisiana wetlands, Shell Oil Co. has partnered with Louisiana State University and the “America's WETLAND” Campaign to take significant steps to restore the region's unique coastal ecosystem.
Earlier this month the ribbon was cut on the new Shell Coastal Environmental Modeling Laboratory (Shell CEML) at Louisiana State University, which is designed to advance wetland research and wetlands mitigation programs. Also unveiled at the event were “Info-Stations,” an extension of Shell's $800,000 partnership with the America's WETLAND campaign. The ceremony took place in the Rotunda of LSU's Energy, Coast and Environment Building on the LSU Campus in Baton Rouge.
“It is important to raise public knowledge about the wetlands and how best to address the coastal erosion and wetlands loss,” said John Hofmeister, president, Shell Oil. “Through our partnership with LSU and America's WETLAND, we are taking steps to protect and preserve Louisiana's natural assets for future generations -- we hope these steps help lead the way for others to get involved.”
The Shell CEML is a highly advanced computer modeling facility that will allow scientists and engineers to simulate the effectiveness of different restoration alternatives to protect and rehabilitate natural resources of coastal Louisiana. The Shell CEML is made possible by a $300,000 grant by Shell to LSU's School of the Coast and Environment. LSU researchers will use the lab to discover innovative and efficient techniques of coastal restoration that will not only be used throughout Louisiana, but across the United States and throughout the world.
"This very generous gift further demonstrates Shell's commitment to LSU and the future of Louisiana," said Maj. Gen. USMC (ret.) William Bowdon, president and CEO of the LSU Foundation, LSU's main academic support organization. “We could not be more pleased to see one of the world's great corporations take the lead in addressing Louisiana's most vital environmental need.”
In addition to Shell's direct involvement in the creation of the Shell Coast Environmental Modeling Laboratory, Shell is the World Sponsor of the America's WETLAND campaign. And, starting in June, drivers will be able to get information on the America's WETLAND Birding Trail and America's WETLAND Resource Centers from “Info-Stations” at participating Shell stations across Louisiana. The maps are designed to draw the eco-cultural tourist to the region, which will in turn help increase awareness and support for saving Louisiana's wetlands. This project is a joint effort between Shell, the America's WETLAND Campaign, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and local entities to promote awareness of and tourism through America's WETLAND.
“When Hurricane Ivan struck back in September, it should have been a wakeup call to us all,” U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said. “Although the storm did not hit our state directly, its impact on the price of oil and gas could still be felt nationwide four months later. The donations to LSU and the America's WETLAND Campaign reflect Shell's understanding of Louisiana's important role in supporting our nation's energy and national security needs. The Shell Coastal and Environmental Modeling Laboratory will help scientists discover new ways to save our coast, and the America's WETLAND Info Stations will inform the driving public of the area's natural and cultural riches and national importance.”