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 fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.