The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a new way to measure the value of wetlands and restore those destroyed by industry.

The proposed Louisiana Wetlands Rapid Assessment Method, or LRAM, is a compensatory wetland mitigation method that will help them evaluate different types of wetlands, like bottomland hardwoods or cypress swamp, and determine how to offset destruction caused by development.

If a company wants to build in the wetlands it has to replace what is destroyed.

Out To Lunch: Oil And Gusts
Cheryl DalPozzal / It's New Orleans

Everybody likes to think they’re important, but here in Louisiana we really are. Two sectors of our local economy are major components of the national, and global, economy: oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Outside of the oil companies who physically drill for oil, there is a huge industry of companies who do everything else – from building oil rigs to delivering groceries to the men and women who work on them. One of the biggest offshore support companies in the world is headquartered here in New Orleans. Tidewater.

America's Watershed Initiative

A new report card for the Mississippi River basin is not good. The lower Mississippi gets a D+ from a water coalition due to poor infrastructure maintenance, run-down levees and unhealthy fish.

America’s Watershed Initiative is a coalition of industry, academic and environmental groups. Its report card graded watersheds along the river, and the river as a whole, by looking at ecosystems, transportation, water supply, flood control and the economy.

Tulane University

A proposal to build a new coal export terminal in Plaquemines Parish has drawn criticism from environmental groups and the public, who say it presents a public health threat. It has been so contentious that the state Department of Natural Resources has faced lawsuits and is currently reviewing its approval of the project after taking input from the public.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a number of rule changes this week that could have a big impact on industry and quality of life in Louisiana. The new rules cut ozone emissions from 75 parts per billion to 70, and complying might pose a challenge for the state. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are now out of attainment.

Chet Overall / It's New Orleans

  In 1814 it was the British who were "runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico." Today, ships of almost every nationality are steaming down the river to the Gulf. 54 of them belong to International Shipholding. Their fleet of cargo vessels ply international trade from their current headquarters in Mobile, Alabama but they're set to return soon to their original home in New Orleans.

Did you know a piece of paper could kill? Natchitoches Rep. Kenny Cox found that out Wednesday, when the fiscal note for his HB 590 was delivered just a few minutes before its hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee.

Cox’s bill would require industrial plants to install air quality monitors along their fence lines.

“This bill is about safety: safety for the people who live along the fence lines,” Cox said in explanation of the proposed law.

Before too much testimony on the bill was given, Houma Rep. Joe Harrison advised Cox that the estimated state cost for implementing the bill – the fiscal note – was going to be the real issue.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Five years ago an off-shore explosion killed 11 workers and created a massive 210 million gallon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There have been questions ever since about how the accident could have been prevented and how to improve off-shore safety standards.

Carl Moore started working on off-shore supply boats back in the 1980s.

Thousands of oil and gas industry operators are filing through the Shreveport Convention Center for a trade show that is focused on serving the oil patch.

The Ark-La-Tex Oilfield Expo has 364 exhibitors packed into a 95,000 square-foot exhibit hall. The expo relocated from Longview this year due to growing demand.

The expo is put on by Longview-based Texas Classic Productions. Creative director Amy Double says the environment is ripe for business deals, especially at a time when operators are cutting costs.

More than 150 timber landowners are participating in Tuesday’s Central Louisiana Forestry Forum. LSU AgCenter forestry extension agent Robbie Hutchins organized the meeting. He says the state’s timber industry has fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, due in large part to an emerging market for woody biomass.

“Forestry has bounced back and is now stronger than ever. That’s a great plus for Louisiana. But the big thing for us as forest landowners is the opportunity for alternate markets, nontraditional markets to market our resource,” Hutchins said.