Dirty Coal and Louisiana’s Coast

Coal runoff at existing United Bulk Terminal. GRN continues to push for science-based coastal restoration, and to oppose dirty energy projects that would harm communities and the Gulf coast environment. On these two efforts converged at the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) meeting in Baton Rouge.GRN’s Coastal Wetlands Specialist Scott Eustis used Louisiana’s “sunshine” public records law to obtain a technical report from the Water Institute of the Gulf, who advises the CPRA on scientific matters. The Water Institute report showed that a coal terminal proposed by Ram Terminals LLC would significantly impair a centerpiece of the CPRA’s coastal restoration efforts, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.At the CPRA meeting, Scott and I both spoke in opposition to the RAM terminal, pointing out how the CPRA’s own scientists told them that the facility would create problems for the restoration project, and reminding them that Governor Jindal had issued an executive order calling for state actions to be consistent with the Master Plan for coastal restoration.Later in the agenda, CPRA chair Garret Graves defended coastal diversions as being supported by the best available science, and specifically cited the Water Institute’s research in their rationale for using sediment diversions as a centerpiece in restoration efforts.As the meeting concluded, we felt obliged to point out to CPRA that they really couldn’t pick and choose at their convenience when to pay attention to the science when setting policy. We’ll see if they do, but it made me think of this great quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson:”The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” Read our press release about the hearing and memorandum here, and check out a story about the meeting in The Advocate here.Steve Murchie is GRN’s Campaign Director.

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