Sand Berms, Rock Dikes, and Twin Pipeline Canals, Oh My!

Lately, the State of Louisiana, Jefferson Parish, and the Terrebonne Levee District have been proposing massive construction projects to stop the oil from reaching the shores of Louisiana. Let it first be said that GRN shares their concerns regarding the oil that is already impacting and will continue to impact the Gulf shores. However, we need ensure that these projects are scientifically shown that they will protect the coast from oil and not do irreparable harm to the wetlands.Regretfully, the proposals that were submitted to the Corps of Engineers were very short in scientific evidence that they would be effective. For example, as stated in this article in the New York Times, scientists consider the rock dikes proposed to partially seal off Barataria Bay “misguided.” Given the lack information in the proposals submitted to the Corps, we supported the Corps in denying the “Rock Dikes”, and previously, their decision to scale back the “Sand Berms” project.Most recently the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District has applied for a Corps permit to dig up wetlands to build and repair a pipeline spoil bank that runs from Chauvin to Golden Meadow (the “Twin Pipeline Canals” Project). This proposal includes approximately 27 miles of spoil banks that could disrupt water flow in this already stressed wetland area, and has no analysis regarding the impacts or restoration plan for when the oil crisis subsides.Additionally, we are concerned that all of these projects are all being applied for under a “general permit,” which would reduce the amount of public review and environmental analysis usually required for this type of permit. General permits are intended to have negligible impacts individually and cumulatively, however all of these projects will certainly have impacts that would normally require a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). While we acknowledge that this disaster requires regulatory flexibility, general permits were never intended to address massive projects with potentially significant environmental impacts. We are deeply troubled by the precedent that would be set by this action.The GRN has submitted comments to the Corps regarding all of these projects and can be found at the following links:GRN Sand Berm CommentsGRN Rock Dikes CommentsGRN Twin Pipeline Comments

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