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.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.