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
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.