The state Office of Conservation has ordered petroleum exploration and production companies to take necessary precautions to ensure their sites are secure as Hurricane Isaac nears.
Conservation Commissioner James Welsh said operators of oilfield and related structures as well as pipelines have been directed under the state's emergency declaration to ensure wells and other facilities do not create environmental threats.
Ascension Parish has been chosen as the site for an Avalon Rare Metals Inc. plant that will refine elements used in televisions and hybrid vehicles, if the company decides to build the $300 million facility.
The Louisiana Department of Economic Development announced Monday that Avalon chose the Geismar site for its possible refinery, with a final decision planned for 2013.
If built, LED says the plan would create 175 new jobs.
Assumption Parish officials have announced a mandatory evacuation of the parish in advance of Hurricane Isaac's landfall.
The parish has reportedly banned the sale of alcohol, and has announced a curfew.
Assumption has also opened a shelter of last resort, at Belle Rose Middle School (7177 Highway 1). Officials say the school will be running off of generator power; however, all evacuees are required to bring all necessary items with them, including food, water, toiletries, bedding and medicines. No cots will be provided.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office says the state transportation department has barricaded some intersections along Highway 90 to let traffic flow more smoothly through the parish.
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Traci Landry says the traffic is probably people evacuating from parishes east of St. Mary Parish as Tropical Storm Isaac gets closer. The storm is expected to become a hurricane before making landfall Tuesday.
Effective at sunset Tuesday, oyster harvest areas 1-28 — from Lake Borgne in St. Bernard Parish to Vermillion Bay in Vermilion Parish — will be closed.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals announced the precautionary closure because Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to strengthen into a hurricane, could cause flooding in coastal parishes that would cause natural contaminants to be washed into rivers, bayous and streams and possibly into oyster-growing areas.
The areas will stay closed until such time as state health officials determine the waters are safe.
Tropical Storm Isaac is closing at least a half-dozen casinos in Louisiana — four in the New Orleans area, one in Baton Rouge and one in Morgan City.
The Treasure Chest in suburban Kenner closed Monday afternoon, and Boomtown New Orleans was closing at 10 p.m. Monday. Harrah's Casino, the only state-regulated land casino in Louisiana, was closing a minute before midnight, and the Amelia Belle in Morgan City at midnight.
Isaac is headed toward the Gulf Coast, and Louisiana's governor has declared a state of emergency. The storm is threatening to hit New Orleans as the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches. Host Michel Martin speaks with Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed of Homeland Security in New Orleans, about how they're preparing the city for the storm.