Take Action to Protect the Pearl

Earlier this week, I spoke to a woman who has spent most of her life living near the Pearl River. One of her fond childhood memories involved sighting a threatened Gulf Sturgeon while on the river with her dad. Because of the Temple-Inland paper plant’s illegal discharge of “black liquor” into the Pearl earlier this month, her second encounter with Gulf Sturgeon involved finding two dead along the banks of the river. She has been moved by the destruction topetition her legislators for the safety of the Pearl at boat launches and meetups you can sign her petitionhere.Sadly, the massive fish kill which killed at least 24 threatened Gulf Sturgeon and hundreds of thousands of other fish in the Pearl River was only the most recent and well-publicized example of Temple-Inland Corporation’s ongoing degradation of the Pearl. Over the course of their existence, they have dumped approximately a million pounds of pollution into the Pearl. Let’s make sure that this is the last time Temple-Inland harms the health of the Pearl and the people who rely on it.Before the plant is allowed to continue regular discharges into the Pearl, the public must have their say about reopening plans, and the plant should be retrofitted with the most advanced clean up technologies. Plus, the fines that Temple-Inland pays should go directly towards restoration of the Pearl. If you live in Louisiana, click here to tell the state to make sure the Pearl River is protected and restored. If you live in Mississippi, click here. At a recent meeting in Bogalusa, LA, I heard elected leaders and state officials promise that they would do the right thing and “keep working as long as it takes” to clean up the mess and restore the Pearl River. That’s encouraging to hear, but if the BP drilling disaster is any example, we’re going to have to fight hard to make sure that they follow through on their promises. In fact, LDEQ was quoted today in the Times-Picayune saying that the plant may be allowed to resume operations as early as Monday!So, please take a minute to send an email urging Louisiana officials, or urging Mississippi officials, to do the right thing for the Pearl and hold Temple-Inland Corporation accountable for their actions.Matt Rota is GRN’s Director of Science and Water Policy.

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