Aug
28

Opposition to Coal Trains, RAM Coal Terminal Mounting in Louisiana

By Nancy Nusser/Public Citizen

Coalition organizers in Louisiana have been instrumental in making coal trains — and by extension the  RAM coal export terminal that the trains would service — a major, controversial issue for communities in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans.

The RAM Terminals’ coal export facility, a focal point of the coalition’s campaign, is proposed for a site in Plaquemines Parish, right next to Jefferson. This summer, the terminal has become a point of conflict for Jefferson Parish communities, notably Gretna and Westwego, because it would require coal trains to run through or by their towns.

More than 100 Gretna residents turned out for the Aug. 13 City Council meeting to protest the coal trains that would service the RAM coal export terminal.

More than 100 Gretna residents turned out for the Aug. 13 City Council meeting to protest the coal trains that would service the RAM coal export terminal.

Yesterday, the  Jefferson Parish Council  endorsed a study of whether the trains could be re-routed around  the town of  Gretna and instead cut through the community of Harvey.

CGCC staffers and supporters shot back that rerouting is no solution, because it doesn’t address the real issue — mile-long coal trains, which generate hundreds of pounds of coal dust and tie up traffic — running through any community to service the proposed RAM terminal.

Grace Morris, senior organizer for Gulf Restoration Network, said: “People are getting so confused. They’re presenting re-routing as a solution to the new coal terminal facility. And it has nothing to do with it.”

Resident Laure Ledet, a  parish resident and CGCC ally, called rerouting an “empty promise to appease the legitimate concerns of our citizens.” She said the proposed study “does nothing to address our immediate concern of RAM Terminals shipping coal by train.”

Continue reading

Aug
21

Weekly Wrap, Gaining Ground in Louisiana, Texas

By Nancy Nusser

The big news this week is that  the Oregon Department of State Lands rejected a vital permit for the coal export project that Ambre Energy’s was trying to build along the Columbia River — a HUGE WIN for the growing movement against coal exports. It was the first time that a state agency formally  rejected a permit for a coal export terminals. And it adds to the list of coal terminals that have been nixed. Four proposed new or expanded coal export facilities have been abandoned in Texas and Alabama, and four of six proposals on the Pacific Northwest coastline have been canceled.

GRETNA, Louisiana

More than 100 people crowded the Gretna, Louisiana, City Council meeting to protest a plan to bring coal trains into their community. The trains would service the RAM coal export terminal. Our staffers and supporters In Louisiana  and Houston have also been making news. More than  100 people showed up at a City Council meeting in Gretna, Louisiana meeting to call on the local governments to take a stand against bringing coal train into the region. The trains would be used to carry coal to export terminals, including the RAM coal export terminal, a focal point of our campaign. So on Aug. 13 residents showed up with “No Coal Train” signs, and more than 20 people spoke during the public. “No Coal Train” signs were put in hundreds of yards. The campaign there is definitely on a roll.

Continue reading

Jul
28

Weekly Wrap: Barrier Reef Toxic with Coal, Germany’s Rising Coal Demand

By Maddy Bennett/Public Citizen

Coal Pollutes Great Barrier Reef

As reported by a Brisbane Times article, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is polluted with coal dust to a point beyond toxicity, putting this World Heritage site in danger. According to a new study from James Cook University, coastal sediments surrounding an Australian coal port are contaminated with coal residues that surpass the country’s regulatory limits.The study’s researcher, Terry Hughes, found coal dust hundreds of kilometers from their source ports.

Great Barrier Reefsource: new.com.au Continue reading

Jul
24

A Win for the Coalition in Louisiana Hearing

The Monday hearing on the suit against the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which several CGCC organizations filed last October, won’t produce a decision until at least late August. But the coalition did get a win.

Local residents showed up to support coalition lawyers making oral arguments in the suit against Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources. The RAM coal export terminal involved in the suit would be serviced by coal trains that would traverse several parishes outside of New Orleans.

Local residents showed up to support coalition lawyers making oral arguments in the suit against Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources. The RAM coal export terminal involved in the suit would be serviced by coal trains that would traverse several parishes outside of New Orleans.

During the July 21 hearing, coalition lawyers argued that the DNR did not take into consideration a key document when the agency granted a coastal use permit for the proposed RAM coal export terminal in Plaquemines Parish. And the judge agreed, which is  important because the terminal can’t be built without that permit.

The court found that the DNR failed to include the RAM Modeling Memorandum created by the Water Institute and Arcadis U.S. The Water Institute/Arcadis concluded that the RAM terminal would undermine the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, a Louisiana state coastal restoration project, because it would reduce the amount of sediment that collects.

Continue reading

Jul
21

CGCC Groups Argue DNR Suit in Plaquemines Court

Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition organizations will make oral arguments in their lawsuit against Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources today. The hearing will be held in Plaquemines Parish Distict Court (301 Main St., Belle Chasse) at 1:30 PM today. The suit was initially filed on October 31, 2013 by Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, and Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN).

We believe the DNR illegally granted a coastal use permit for the RAM coal export terminal, which has been proposed for a site near Ironton and Myrtle Grove in Plaquemines Parish. The terminal would undermine the Myrtle Grove Diversion, a key part of the state’s coastal restoration plan, as well as pollute air and water.