Plaquemines Parish, LA -- Despite calls from local cities and parishes for greater public input, on Friday the US Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit that allows Armstrong Energy to fill wetlands and construct its proposed RAM coal export terminal in Plaquemines Parish. The permit brings the RAM terminal one step closer to undermining Louisiana’s long-term work on coastal restoration.
The Army Corps decision comes on the heels of the federal agency’s refusal to hold a public hearing on the RAM terminal, despite public demand for input.
In response, Gulf Restoration Network senior organizer Grace Morris issued the following statement:
“It’s outrageous that the Army Corps issued a permit to the RAM coal export terminal. RAM would run mile-long uncovered coal trains that spew toxic coal dust through Gretna and Belle Chasse and pile mounds of dirty coal next to one of our state’s most important coastal restoration investments. The Army Corps refuses to acknowledge the obvious impacts that RAM would have on the Mid-Barataria Sediment diversion, choosing instead to sacrifice our state’s flood buffers for RAM terminal’s profits.
“By granting this permit, the Army Corps is unapologetically choosing to ignore the state’s top engineers and thousands of public comments and unanimous resolutions passed by Jefferson Parish and the cities of Gretna and Westwego. Gulf families want and deserve a full analysis of how the RAM terminal would impact their quality of life and important coastal restoration projects. The fight for coastal restoration and healthy economic development is the fight for our lives in Louisiana. We won’t let a dying coal export industry take us down with it.”
The proposed RAM terminal is part of the struggling coal industry’s effort to shore up lagging revenues by increasing coal exports through the Gulf Coast. Four of the industry’s Gulf-based export proposals have been defeated under pressure from the shaky financial market for coal and strong grassroots opposition.
Local communities and members of the Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition will continue working to ensure healthy coasts and long-term economic development for Louisiana families. The coalition is evaluating next steps for action on the permit approval.
The Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition collaborates with the Christian Ministers Missionary Baptist Association of Plaquemines, Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Air Alliance Houston and other community and environmental organizations.