A permit application submitted by Jefferson Island Storage & Hub to Louisiana’s Office of Coastal Management — a division of the Department of Natural Resources — for a contentious project to develop natural gas storage caverns beneath Lake Peigneur went public Tuesday.
“We’re just in the mix of reviewing this permit and gathering all agency and public comments that would draw any attention to certain aspects of this project,” says OCM reviewer Sharon McCarthy.
The proposed project has been at the center of an ongoing dispute between the environmental advocacy group Save Lake Peigneur and JISH over a number of mysterious occurrences witnessed in the lake, which is located near the border of Iberia and Vermilion parishes.
Nara Crowley, a lead advocate in the fight to stop JISH from adding two additional storage caverns, says for years residents’ fears have fallen on deaf ears, especially those of the company’s leaders.
“We have unresolved bubbling, the withdrawal of drinking water and several other major concerns,” Crowley says in an e-mail. “All this is being disregarded.”
The situation may be changing, however, thanks to recent vows of support from U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany, Sen. David Vitter, and the Vermilion Parish Police Jury. Support also is expected from Sen. Mary Landrieu, says Crowley, as well as the Iberia Parish Council, which will vote tonight on a resolution calling for a full halt to the proposed expansion project.
As far as Tuesday’s notice is concerned, OCM’s McCarthy says it is only a public notice and not an approval of JISH’s permit.
McCarthy says public comments will be accepted through Jan. 5, followed by a five-day grace period for comments submitted by mail.
“If there is a public hearing request then that would extend the review period,” adds McCarthy. “There’s no definite date this permit would be issued either. All the possible issues must be resolved before that will happen.”
Likewise, McCarthy says for the project to move forward, JISH also must undergo the application process with all necessary state and federal agencies, mainly DEQ’s Office of Conservation, and the U.S. Environmental Agency, among others.
Click here to view Tuesday’s public notice, and here for more on the fight over Lake Peigneur.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.