The Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast has been finalized and passed by the legislature, after almost three years of examining data and running computer models, and another year of a public comment and conflict resolution. This is Louisiana's Hail Mary pass, our imperfect, best, last shot at turning the tide of our coastal crisis.
But before the ink on the plan has dried, it faces great challenges. We at GRN have watched while coal terminals have expanded across the country, as the United States moves away from burning this dirty fuel. These coal terminals have grown into mountains in Plaquemines parish. And RAM Terminals, LLC, is threatening to place another mountain of coal just upstream from the mouth of the Myrtle Grove project.
We need to put the River to work building healthy wetlands in Louisiana, but a river full of coal runoff cannot build healthy wetlands. Coal runoff has PAHs, heavy metals, and other toxins that will cripple the health of the existing marshes, as well as compromise whatever wetlands the restoration project seeks to build.
Not only is this a threat to the health of the people who live near Ironton, but it's a threat to the health of all of us on the coast that will depend on the success of that project to build healthy wetlands. The coal dust that blows from the coal mountains covers boats in black dust, and gives people black lung.
Tell the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, that they cannot allow the premier coastal restoration project, the Myrtle Grove sediment diversion, to be polluted with coal runoff.
Scott Eustis is GRN's Coastal Wetland Specialist