Sierra Club Delta Chapter to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

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In September of 2014 the Nation will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act is one of the most important pieces of conservation legislation ever enacted in this country. We have three wilderness areas here in Louisiana.

Breton Island wilderness area was designated in 1975 and is 5,000 acres managed by US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is a barrier island in gulf waters 60 mi southeast of New Orleans and is part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is comprised of a series of barrier islands including Breton Island and all of the Chandeleur Islands in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

Lacassine, designated in 1976, is a 3,445 acre wilderness management area within the 35,000 acre Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron and Evangeline Parishes. The National Wildlife Refuge is primarily freshwater marsh. The wilderness area is located in the southern portion of refuge. The refuge and wilderness areas are managed by US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kisatchie Hills, designated in 1980, 8,679 acres. It is called “Little Grand Canyon" and has some of the most unique topography in Louisiana - unusually steep, rugged terrain with flat-topped mesas, sandstone bluffs and outcroppings. This is the largest of three designated wilderness areas in Louisiana and the only one managed by the Forest Service. Kisatchie Bayou, a State Natural and Scenic Stream, flows through the area.

Thank You Carl Bakay

Carl demonstrates water testing

We note the passing of our friend, mentor and helper Carl Bakay. Carl had been the leader of the Bayou Teche Water Sentinals sampling program and had been a scientific advisor to us before he took the lead on the sampling and data reporting project. Carl had found money to upgrade some of our sampling equipment, had done training workshops for our water sample team members, and had always been available to go out on sampling day and fill in where needed. Carl was a true scientist. He understood the value of consistent data collected over time for showing water quality trends. He made every water sampling day an important event with reminders, offers of help and tips on how to do things. Carl was the guy working our Water Sentinals table this last time around for the Shake Your Trail Feather Festival.

Update on La Wildlife and Fisheries Commission consideration of rule banning ATVs in Scenic Rivers

We did good in the La Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting on Oct 3. The meeting room was full with people standing around the sides. We were outnumbered by ATV people who were there in opposition to a rule restricting use of motor vehicles in Louisiana Scenic Rivers. La Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club Delta Chapter were there along with concerned landowners to testify in favor of the rule. The Commission voted unanimously to file a notice of intent to amend the Natural and Scenic River Systems Rules and Regulations. The Commission seems to be leaning toward enacting the rule but they need our support. The hearing record is open for public comments until Nov 29. Please send comments to LDWF supporting the rule to prohibit use of motor vehicles in Louisiana Scenic Rivers. For more info you can go to our earlier story on this website entitled "ATVs Turn Scenic River into a Motorway."

Please submit written comments on the amended rule to:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Keith Cascio, Scenic Rivers Coordinator, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email at kcascio@wlf.la.gov through Dec. 20, 2013 [the original Nov. 29, 2013 deadline for comments has been extended].

Here is a link to the LDWF explanation of the proposed rule.

Here below is a sample comment letter. Your comments can be very simple as in the following letter, or you can make changes that reflect your own experience and interest in conservation of natural waterways. What counts is that we get a lot of supporting letters to LDWF.

Louisiana’s Renewable Energy Pilot Program

In 2010 the Louisiana Public Service Commission unanimously approved a Renewable Energy Pilot Program (REPP) that ordered utilities to conduct research, requests for proposals from the renewables industry, and submit reports to the commission on their viability. The main goal of the program was to gather information about the availability and economic feasibility of renewable resources in the state, and whether Louisiana should join the 32 other states and territories who have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). These standards are regulations that require increased production of renewable resources, generally with future goals of including greater percentages of renewables in their fuel mixes. In 2009, Commissioner Lambert Boissiere had requested the staff’s interest in Louisiana’s resource planning be “re-energized” after a 5 year conversation, beginning in 2004, about a potential RPS.

ATVs Turn Scenic River Into a Motorway

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The stretch of the Comite River that runs from the Wilson-Clinton Hwy in East Feliciana Parish to the entrance of White Bayou in East Baton Rouge Parish is a Louisiana Scenic River protected by the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act. In the last few years some stretches of the river have been turned into motorways by hordes of ATV riders blasting through the water and along the sandbars. Videos titled "Riding the Comite River" which were taken by the riders themselves and posted on Youtube show the damage. The Scenic Rivers Act states that This system shall be administered for the purposes of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regime of certain free-flowing streams or segments thereof.

LPSC Adopts Voluntary Energy Efficiency Rule

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The Louisiana Public Service Commission on August 21 adopted a voluntary Energy Efficiency (EE) Rule. Adoption of the rule came over strong objection from two commissioners Clyde Holloway and Erik Skrmetta. Supporting votes came from Commissioners Foster Campbell and Lambert Boissiere. The key supporting vote was from Commissioner Scott Angelle who had put forward amendments to the EE rule which was adopted back in Dec 2012 but which had been put on hold pending further study. Commissioner Angelle’s idea this time was to adopt a voluntary rule and at the same time obtain verbal assurances in the commission meeting from representatives of CLECO, Entergy Louisiana, and SWEPCO that their companies would participate in the program.

LPSC again puts off a vote on the Energy Efficiency Rule

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Update on the Proposal to Gut the Energy Efficiency Rule: The Louisiana Public Service Commission today, July 31, 2013 again put off a vote to implement the Energy Efficiency (EE) rule that was adopted at their meeting of Dec 12, 2012. There are two Commissioners (Clyde Holloway and Erik Skrmetta) dead set against the EE rule and two strongly for it (Foster Campbell and Lambert Boissiere). The swing vote is Scott Angelle in commission District 2 who voted for the rule at a meeting in May 2013 only to make a motion to stay the implementation pending further study. He is now the guy who will determine which way the EE rule goes. Commissioner Angelle had before today’s meeting proposed a rule that would make participation by the utilities voluntary. We discussed this in our earlier posting about the LPSC Proposal to Gut the Energy Efficiency Rule. It was a technically weak proposal that did not go anywhere.

Foster Campbell applauds the SE Louisiana Flood Protection Authority lawsuit to hold oil companies accountable for wetlands loss

Foster Campbell
LOUISIANA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
30 July 2013
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

I was happy to hear about the coastal-damage lawsuit brought against the major oil companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East. This effort out of New Orleans is long overdue. For years the people of Louisiana have seen how offshore oil exploration and production has damaged our wetlands. The BP spill, as bad as it was, will be viewed as a minor event when placed in the context of years of coastal erosion. Yet, since the destruction of our wetlands has become known and fully understood, no statewide politician except Gov. Dave Treen has tried to hold the oil industry accountable.

LPSC Proposal to Gut the Energy Efficiency Rule

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The battle with the Louisiana Public Service Commission over the proposed statewide energy efficiency rule continues with two Democrats staunchly for it, two Republicans dead set against it and newly elected Republican commissioner Scott Angelle playing a pivotal role in its outcome. The Commission back in December of 2012 adopted the statewide rule modeled after the Arkansas EE program, when former Commissioner Jimmy Fields was still on the Commission. In February new Commission chair Erik Skrmetta and Commissioner Clyde Holloway attempted to vacate the rule without hearing public comment. Sierra Club and our allies filed a lawsuit and the Commission decided to hear public comment on the rule in June. Three commissioners, including Scott Angelle voted in favor of the energy efficiency rule at the meeting on June 26 but decided to suspend implementation for a month. Now Commissioner Angelle, who was not involved in four years of work on the rules, is proposing changes that effectively neutralize the effectiveness of the rule

Proposal for New Coal Export Terminal in Louisiana Faces Major Setbacks

After one year, the RAM Terminal has still not received Clean Water Act permits from the Army Corps of Engineers

July 11, 2013

CONTACTS:
Gulf Restoration Network: Scott Eustis, (504) 525-1528 x212, scott@healthygulf.org
Sierra Club: Devin Martin, (985) 209-5454, devin.martin@sierraclub.org
Public Citizen Contact: Kaiba White, (512) 477-1155, kwhite@citizen.org
PREI Contact: Cornell Battle, (504) 578-2319

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