This is a conversation we in South Louisiana need to have, and if it takes a massive lawsuit against scores of oil companies by a tiny, independent levee board in New Orleans to do it, then so be it. The suit brought by Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against 97 companies it accuses of destroying Louisiana’s coast through decades of drilling and dredging — thus depleting the coast’s natural ability to protect us from hurricanes — has a tough slog ahead of it. The suit demands the companies respect a clause that has always been part of state leases for exploration and production: Return the area to the condition in which you found it. Politicians and local and state government, which have long benefitted from the energy industry, have often ignored this little requirement. The SLFPA-E is saying “no more.” Regardless of whether it’s ultimately successful, the suit could nonetheless achieve at least one important goal: Make current and future oil companies operating in Louisiana, under the specter of legal action, take greater care of our most important natural resource — our coast and its wetlands. Drill away, boys, but clean up your damn mess.
Let us now throw the baby out with the bath water. A few weeks ago Louisiana Right to Life, a powerful anti-abortion group that has Baton Rouge’s ear, urged Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to stop paying Planned Parenthood’s two clinics in Louisiana for non-abortion health services. That’s non-abortion health services — contraception, mammograms, prenatal care, etc. These services are used mainly by low-income women who can’t otherwise afford such niceties as basic reproductive health care and family planning. We respect LRF’s right to lobby for its pro-life agenda, but this is too much. And here’s why: According to a new study released by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization that promotes access to family planning services — research, by the way, that comports with many earlier studies — taxpayer-supported family planning services saved the federal government $10.5 billion and helped prevent more than 2 million unplanned pregnancies and 760,000 abortions in 2010. Think about that.
Despite the fact that early indicators suggest the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, will achieve its goal and reduce health care costs by providing millions of Americans with much-needed health insurance — millions of young Americans who heretofore were booted from their parents’ plans at 18 are among the newly insured thanks to Obamacare — some in the Grand Old Party just won’t let go. Ignore for a minute the more than three dozen times the U.S. House of Representatives has (symbolically) voted to repeal Obamacare — we’re thinking of you, Rep. Boustany — and consider the latest from Louisiana’s junior senator. David Vitter has joined 11 fellow Republican senators in signing a letter threatening to shut the government down — to stop the Social Security checks, the Medicare reimbursements and payment on the national debt, etc. — if Congress doesn’t vote to defund Obamacare, risking economic ruin for these United States. Even Vitter’s fellow Republicans are calling bullshit on this stupid idea, characterizing it as “terribly dangerous” (Sen. Tom Coburn), “a suicidal political tactic” (Rep. Tom Cole), “terror politics” (Rep. Peter King) and “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of” (Sen. Richard Burr). Well said, gentlemen. Well said.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
Fashion and music make great bedfellows
Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Local boutique celebrates all things green
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.