RAM Opposition Floods Belle Chasse

 
A standing-room-only crowd filled the Belle Chasse Auditorium, in opposition to RAM's proposed coal-export terminal

Scores of concerned citizens packed the Belle Chasse Auditorium this past Thursday for a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) public hearing on the proposed RAM coal export terminal.

As you may be aware, the RAM facility would be located near Wood Park, Myrtle Grove, and historic Ironton in Plaquemines Parish. It’d be the first regional terminal connected to rail, thereby introducing mile-long uncovered coal trains to the West Bank. RAM would sit adjacent to the site of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion as well, a major coastal restoration project from the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.

The standing-room-only crowd expressed overwhelming opposition to RAM’s application for a Coastal Use Permit. The prospect of dirty trains rumbling through communities raised countless public-health and quality-of-life concerns, especially those related to traffic, noise, and decreased property values.

Notably, individuals’ concerns also branched beyond the ‘not-in-my-backyard’ trope. Many attendees referenced the recurring losses of storm-buffering wetlands and the need to focus on rebuilding efforts. Gayle Bertucci, who lives beside the potential train route in Gretna, declared coastal restoration as “necessary for the survival of us all.”

GRN’s own Scott Eustis detailed Louisiana’s choice between coast and coal, referencing the fact that RAM’s mere existence would reduce river-flow of wetland-forming sediment by at least 158,000,000 pounds per decade. This projected flow impediment is undeniably significant, yet the accompanying likelihood of coal-related discharges might even be worse.  

Although DNR made no judgement regarding RAM’s permit status on Thursday, the agency is trusted with weighing all voices in its decision-making process. Both the Plaquemines and Jefferson Parish Councils stand firmly against this possible development. The State can benefit from aligning itself with the vocal, local leadership.

For those who were unable to attend in Belle Chasse, DNR will continue bolstering the public record until this upcoming Monday, the 28th. Comments should be emailed to Nicole Dandurand (Nicole.Dandurand@LA.gov). Please be sure to include “RAM Terminals, LLC,” “P20120190,” and your contact information in all correspondence.

Despite being ignored by RAM, Ironton residents made their presence known to DNR
“We live in Ironton!,” exclaims Virginia Trufant. RAM’s latest Alternatives Analysis submitted to DNR ignores Ironton’s presence, including the community’s 137-year-old Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Chruch.
GRN's Scott Eustis discusses the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion
GRN’s Scott Eustis discusses RAM’s impact to the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, one of the premier projects of the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.

 

Community members and elected officials gather for pre-hearing press event
Concerned citizens and elected officials gather for a pre-hearing press event, which was organized and facilitated by Grace Morris of the Sierra Club.


All photos courtesy of Jeffrey Dubinsky and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network.

James Hartwell is GRN's Coastal Wetland Analyst.

Recent Posts

GRN arranged a swamp tour on November 16th for members of the Louisiana and coastal...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Mississippi’s second annual Restoration Summit convened on Tuesday Nov. 14th so the state could announce...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing this month to discuss the fate of...
Written by Marley Vebares
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
And the hurricanes just kept coming… In finishing my first full month on the job...
Written by Christian Wagley
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met the first week of October in Biloxi,...
Written by Kendall Dix
Friday, 20 October 2017
Flood control alternatives, including the “One Lake” project for the Pearl River in Jackson, have...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Santa Rosa Island is a gem along Florida’s Panhandle coast, with 52 miles of white...
Written by Christian Wagley
Thursday, 21 September 2017

SHARE THIS PAGE