Coast or Coal?

This articles was excerpted from Gulf Currents, GRN’s quarterly newsletter. To read the rest of the December 2013 edition of Gulf Currents, click here.Warren Lawrence of Mrytle Grove and GRN’s Grace Morris set up air monitoring device.Louisiana is giving a coal export terminal – RAM Terminal, LLC – permission to pile hills of coal dust and traffic coal at the same location as the coastal master plan’s largest restoration project – the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.Coal export terminals release clouds of coal dust that cover homes, boats, cars, and coastal wetlands with a layer of black soot. Coal-carrying rail cars are uncovered and blow coal into the communities they traverse. Coal-carrying barges dump coal in the river. In short, coal export terminals create public health and environmental impacts every step of the way.Through a public records request, GRN obtained a technical memorandum that was commissioned by Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to see if constructing a coal export terminal at the mouth of the planned Mid-Barataria river restoration project would compromise restoration goals. The report found the RAM coal export terminal could reduce sediment, transfer coal pollution to marsh areas, and that the proximity of the coal facility to the river restoration project intake poses navigation, erosion and safety issues. Unfortunately, CPRA ignored the recommendations and wrote a special memorandum of agreement with RAM Terminal, LLC permitting its devastating coastal activity.GRN is monitoring pollution from the existing coal export terminals in the area. We’ve joined with allies to file a lawsuit challenging the coastal use permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the RAM terminal. We’ve launched a public education and action campaign about the impact the terminal will have on coastal restoration and the impact its railcars will have on communities. Stay tuned!Grace Morris is GRN’s Coal Campaign Organizer.

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