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
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.