Nowhere in America is there a more beautiful, more varied, or more endangered shoreline than in Louisiana. Because of its setting at the mouth of the Mississippi River, Louisiana differs from other coastal states. In addition to long stretches of sandy beach there are 12,000 square miles of marsh along the coast. Although the state's shoreline has not yet experienced the urban sprawl of a New Jersey or Florida, two-thirds of all Louisianans now live within a two-hour drive of salt marsh. The oil industry is expanding and competing for space and resources.
But the most striking feature of Louisiana's coastline is rapidly accelerating change, which means (1) some coastal parishes may literally disappear by the year 2000; (2) the loss of marshland will damage the prolific seafood industry; (3) a retreating coastline could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues from offshore oil facilities; (4) present and potential shoreline residents will face many new problems and possibilities.
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