The state Department of Natural Resources has issued the first three mining permits required for two new natural gas storage caverns beneath Lake Peigneur at Jefferson Island. The project has faced widespread opposition in light of water quality concerns raised for both the lake and the underlying Chicot Aquifer ("Under Pressure," April 12). The state Legislature, the Iberia Parish Council and the Lafayette City-Parish Council all passed resolutions requesting DNR deny the permits.
"I think it's a done deal," says Michael Richard, owner of Jefferson Island's famed Rip Van Winkle Gardens, who helped organize a citizen's group opposing the project. "The bureaucrats are just going through the motions. They're very polite and very helpful to us when we go to talk to them. But, that's it, you're just getting lip service."
The permits were issued to Jefferson Island Storage and Hub LLC, which already operates two natural gas storage caverns in the salt dome beneath Lake Peigneur. General Manager Jim Pitts has said the company hopes to begin work on the project this summer and will abide by all state and federal safety regulations. The $100 million expansion will allow the company to double its current gas storage capacity at Jefferson Island, to about 24 billion cubic feet of gas. Jefferson Island Storage and Hub is still awaiting approval of two other well permits from DNR and a dredging permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project. ' Nathan Stubbs
The state's $21.7 billion budget is voluminous, to say the least. But hundreds of pages filled with millions of numbers still can't obscure some eyebrow-raising items. There's a $15,000 line item to relocate an "oil monument" from the Shreveport Fairgrounds to the Louisiana State Oil and Gas Museum. Then there's another $250,000 for the Capitol High School Alumni Association for renovations and repairs to a community center. But Louisiana judges are among the biggest winners in the budget.
Next year, district court judges will receive a $10,600 salary bump, bringing them to $116,400 annually; appellate judge salaries increase to approximately $122,500, and Supreme Court justices will earn more than $129,000. House Bill 1, which carries the state's spending plan, was approved by the House last week and is now undergoing debate in the Senate. ' Jeremy Alford
INDUSTRIAL JOBS PLUMMET
The most recent Louisiana Manufacturers Register, an annual industrial guide, doesn't bode well for the post-Katrina marketplace: The state lost 11,632 industrial jobs over the past 12 months. About 25 new manufacturers were added to the rolls during the same period, but that good news was greatly overshadowed by the 411 companies that went out of business.
"The state lost about 7 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the immediate aftermath of Katrina," says Tom Dubin, president of the group that publishes the findings. "Since then, however, we find that industrial employment has remained fairly steady as businesses seek raw materials, machinery and supplies for the rebuilding effort." The publication shows that Louisiana ranks third in the southwest states for number of manufacturers; the top industrial cities remain Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport, which account for 20 percent of Louisiana's manufacturers. ' JA
In last week's story regarding eBay's lobbying efforts in the state Legislature ("Doing Their Bidding," May 31), we incorrectly reported that eBay opposes proposed legislation that would require certain eBay sellers to be licensed by the Louisiana Auctioneers Licensing Board. The LALB has that authority under current law, and eBay supports newly proposed Senate Bill 642, which would exclude eBay sellers from state licensing requirements. The Independent Weekly regrets the error. ' Scott Jordan
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
There was a time when United Ballot had a political stranglehold so tight on Lafayette’s black community it was nearly unbreakable, but that grip might be loosening.
The race for Lafayette city marshal may not be the most exciting of this year’s local political contests, but it could prove the most historic.
With the DA’s race too close to call and negative media coverage of Mike Harson on the ebb, will challenger Keith Stutes take the gloves off?
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.