TagLouisiana DEQ

How Louisiana missed a large oil spill

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One issue that’s come up repeatedly since I launched this website seven years ago has been the multiple failings of Louisiana’s state environmental regulators, especially when it comes to reining in the state’s powerful oil and natural gas interests. For decades, under both Republican and Democratic governors, the regulatory agencies in Baton Rouge haven’t been up to snuff...

Christmas comes early for La. pollution fighters

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A few months ago, I told you about the latest public health crisis in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” — the strip of heavily polluting refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities that line the banks of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge all the way down past New Orleans. Many of the most threatened community are predominantly poor and predominantly black...

A terrible quick fix for the Louisiana sinkhole

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Remember the people who brought you the Louisiana sinkhole, the Texas Brine Co? These are the folks whose drilling activities in a salt cavern underneath a small isolated community about 70 miles west of New Orleans caused problems that were overlooked by state regulators in Baton Rouge and ultimately led to a collapse and a massive water hole near the center of the town. That hole grew to the...

The Louisiana sinkhole: It gets even worse

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The saga of the Louisiana sinkhole just keeps getting worse and worse. Officials with the company that mined the brine under the town of Bayou Corne in Assumption Parish — the Texas Brine Co. — and the Louisiana state regulatory agencies said they were simply shocked, shocked in the summer of 2012 when the earth began to rumble under the bayou community and when dozens of residents...

More much-needed global attention for Bayou Corne

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It’s funny — it was just about this time last year that I was writing multiple blog posts about the remarkable situation in Bayou Corne, the little town tucked inside the swamplands 70 miles west of New Orleans, and wondering why no one else was paying attention. After all, it’s not every day that a small town shakes and rumbles, dangerous methane gas bubbles up from under...

The people of ‘Cancer Alley’ are fighting back

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Suddenly, chemical plants in Louisiana were in the news last week. That’s understandable — two explosions on back-to-back days in Geismar and Donaldsonville in the very heart of “Cancer Alley” not only killed three people and sent others to the hospital but made for dramatic television, as smoke billowed into the bayou air as if set off by a massive bomb (and there was a...

“Cancer Alley” is on fire — where were the watchmen?

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It was a terrible week on Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.” This narrow strip of the bayou country between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is home to more chemical plants and refineries than just about any area in the world, let alone the United States. Over the decades, these plants have been a source of both jobs and income for a state in desperate need of both. But as the nickname...

Why is Gov. Jindal afraid of visiting the sinkhole?

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The sinkhole in Bayou Corne — the one that I’ve been writing about here since last summer — is getting simply too big to ignore…or so you would think. At latest report, the gaping hole that has swallowed up trees, vegetation and everything else in its wake is now 8.5 acres in size, and experts expect that even in the best-case scenario it will eventually grow to 12 acres...

La. needs to get to bottom of the sinkhole and radiation

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It was just yesterday that I was sharing with you the new scientific data that even exposure to what has been considered low doses of radiation can be harmful. In particular, I mentioned the long-standing — but not always well-understood — issue of so-called Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, or NORM. This is a radioactive by-product of the oil-production process; for years it...

What a gas! Flaming faucets as La. sinkhole expands, costs soar

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If you care about the environment, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the award-winning anti-fracking documentary, Gasland. And if you did, you surely remember the alarming result of natural gas drilling in rural Pennsylvania: People were able to light their tap water with a match! That’s because of dangerous levels of the highly flammable gas methane polluting their wells. In...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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