Pearl River Fish Kill Culprit Reopens with Few New Protections

NEW ORLEANS While the Pearl River is still recovering from the discharge of “black liquor” and resulting massive fish kill, LDEQ has recently authorized Temple-Inland paper the industry that has admitted to causing the fish kill to resume operations and once again discharge pollutants into the Pearl.In response to this premature plant reopening, Gulf Restoration Network has submitted a formal letter of objection to LDEQ. “We strongly object to the start-up plan that LDEQ recently approved,” said Matt Rota, Science and Water Policy Director of GRN. “Despite the massive damage caused by Temple-Inland’s fish kill, the LDEQ and Senate Environmental Quality Committee have failed to live up to their assurances that a preventable accident at Temple-Inland’s plant will never happen again.” Among the issues raised in GRN’s letter are the that LDEQ failed to consult the public for comment before authorizing this inadequate start-up plan and that the plan fails to meet requirements put forward by LDEQ in their initial Compliance Order. In addition, LDEQ’s increased monitoring plans would be phased out in less than three months. “At the hearing in Bogalusa on August 22, both the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and LDEQ assured that everything would be done to make sure a catastrophe like the Pearl River fish kill would never happen again,” said Rota. “Allowing Temple-Inland to resume activities without state-of-the-art pollution reduction technology is unacceptable. Allowing pollution to once again flow into the Pearl at this stage is doing a disservice to the River and the folks that live and depend on this ecological treasure.” The full letter sent to LDEQ by GRN can be found here .

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