Plans by a Halliburton subsidiary to build a chemical plant in north Vermilion Parish are being challenged by a group of residents in the surrounding area. Known collectively as Citizens Against Multi-Chem, the group will meet at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Indian Bayou Volunteer Fire Department to take the first steps in mounting a campaign against the plant going up on about 20 acres off La. 92 between Maurice and Indian Bayou.
“We understand that Vermilion Parish has no zoning restrictions,” says Marcella Manuel, a business owner who lives about a half from the plant. Manuel says she learned about the project less than two weeks ago and has become an outspoken opponent. “We’re also aware that lots of people including elected officials knew this was coming down the pike and nobody was informed. Some of the government agencies that we’ve spoken to are telling us that stipulations and contingencies could be placed upon the permit at the local level, so those are some possibilities, too.”
Manuel cites a host of concerns about the plant — from water quality and property values to public safety. The plant is a replacement facility for the Multi-Chem plant in New Iberia that was destroyed by an explosion and ensuing fire last July, prompting a mandatory evacuation of residents living within a one-mile radius of the plant.
Manuel says the petition drive will target residents living within a 10-mile radius of the plant: “This is the thing: Lafayette doesn’t understand that when you do a 10-mile radius it goes up to Acadiana Mall. It goes across I-10. It includes Rayne, so we’re planning on getting Acadia and Lafayette parishes involved as well.”
About 20 people now number among the core of Citizens Against Multi-Chem. Some members, Manuel says, are reaching out to area lawmakers.
“We haven’t even touched the vast majority of the population [yet],” she says.
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MAR 6 In this week's post, Jim Brown is remembering former Gov. Jimmie Davis, who was sworn in 70 years ago this week. Included in here is the governor's recipe for raccoon, which was his favorite dish, Brown says. He also tells us who "Sunshine" was - Jimmie's palomino. She's buried at the late governor's farm, Brown says.
MAR 6 Columnist James Gill applies his special combination of wit and sarcasm to our friend Don Briggs in this post. Gill read the oil and gas leader's deposition and almost felt sorry for him -- almost. The problem seems to be related to Mr. Brigg's "stupendous ignorance of his purported area of expertise," Gill writes. He also credits Briggs with doing more for the environmental cause in a couple hours than tree-huggers can accomplish in years.
MAR 6 If you're on the Facebook, you've seen this video of two NOLA police officers line dancing with some Mardi Gras revelers. But this one is even better: it's a NOLA police horse line dancing on Bourbon Street. Hey -- this is Louisiana. We all can get down, if the situation calls for it.
MAR 6 Here's some more new info on the continuing controversy at Louisiana College, this time posted on the Tennessean (so maybe this story is pretty interesting outside of Louisiana, too). The story, originally written by Town Talk reporters, tells us about a document with allegedly forged signatures which was sent to SACS, the organization which issues accreditation for southern universities and colleges. The plot thickens?
MAR 6 When one reads a story like this one on KATC about the person or persons unknown who stole a huge duck balloon, three questions come to mind. First, what kind of person steals a huge balloon used to advertise a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club? And second, how can that person drive off with a huge balloon -- and attract no attention at all? And of course, the biggie: what you gonna do with that?
MAR 6 If you're interested in how things might look in 20 or 30 years, here's a good indication. This post by a 19-year-old sophomore in the LSU Reveille is the first in a series about racism. Written by a white girl, it argues that we must discuss racism and acknowledge its existence. We can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore - because it does, she says.
MAR 6 LaPolitics is doing the math on the state's unclassified workforce, and it looks pretty good -- if you're part of it. The top 50 unclassified positions in state government are making a combined $17 million, LaPolitics reports. That's $3 million more than when Jindal took office. (It's also an average salary of $340,000 in case you're interested) What's really interesting is that a lot of these positions are related to college athletics. Huh.
MAR 6 What does Ash Wednesday in NOLA look like? Beaded trees. This Picayune story takes a look at one narrow aspect of the annual clean-up following Mardi Gras: the beads hanging from trees. It takes weeks for crews to remove the trash from the trees, the story tells us.
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