BATON ROUGE, La. -- On the heels of two significant setbacks for the proposed RAM coal export terminal, residents are asking Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to withdraw its Memorandum of Agreement with the project.
“We want to preserve our quality of life. We love our little town of Gretna - we don't want it all to become an industrial corridor,” stated Laurie Ledet, a lifetime resident of Gretna, Louisiana. “We stand with our neighbors in Plaquemines Parish who don’t want the RAM coal export terminal either. We want to hear that state officials will stand with us, not an out-of-state coal company.”
In July 2013, CPRA and RAM Terminals, LLC signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding operation of the facility and diversion. Three months later, a newly public document showed that the RAM coal export terminal could seriously impair the planned Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, a hallmark project in the state’s coastal master plan. Since then, RAM has received two additional strikes: last month the Plaquemines Parish Council voted 8-0 to deny the terminal’s construction permit. The parish council decision came weeks after a state court revoked RAM’s coastal use permit, citing failures to consider alternative sites for the project.
“Louisiana’s own scientists and local parish leaders have all come to the same conclusion: the RAM coal export terminal undermines coastal restoration plans,” said Grace Morris, Senior Organizer with Gulf Restoration Network. “CPRA can send a strong message for implementing restoration plans by dissolving its agreement with RAM.”
In recent months, Councils from Westwego, Gretna and Jefferson Parish have passed unanimous council resolutions voicing concerns about the proposed RAM coal export terminal and its associated coal trains, citing health and safety concerns and calling for public hearings.
”We know much more about the RAM coal export terminal’s threats to coastal restoration and coastal communities than we did when CPRA issued its memorandum last year,” said Devin Martin, an organizer with Sierra Club. “Only coal companies could claim that the RAM coal export terminal is an appropriate use of our coast.”
The Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition includes Air Alliance Houston, Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), Public Citizen, Sierra Club and Southwings.