More than two years after the catastrophic BP oil spill, environmental groups say billions of dollars BP is expected to spend on restoration should go toward buying tens of thousands of acres of coastal land for conservation, rebuilding Louisiana's eroding wetlands and creating nearly 200 miles of oyster reefs.
The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says an agreement with the St. Martin Parish School Board has been hammered out to save 640 acres of cypress and hardwood forest under threat of being logged in the Atchafalaya basin.
The school board had allowed the tract to be logged but environmental groups recently intervened and threatened to sue. The lawsuit prompted DNR's conservation plan, according to Dean Wilson, the head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.
Environmentalists oppose cypress logging in south Louisiana because the trees are so hard to grow back.
Lafourche Parish officials say a restoration project aimed at rebuilding beach and dunes at West Belle Pass on Fourchon beach is nearly halfway done.
Progress has been made despite some damage from Tropical Storm Debby in late June.
Lafourche Parish Coastal Zone Administrator Archie Chaisson told The Courier that the restoration project was moving along smoothly with 66 percent of the beach and dune recreation finished. Sand fending to prevent erosion is 44 percent complete.
A small breach on the marsh-covered east bank of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans is giving rise to calls to let the river run wild.
The debate centers on a 77-foot-wide channel the river carved through a levee road in the unused Bohemia spillway in Plaquemines Parish, about 45 miles south of New Orleans. The breach is outside levees that protect thinly populated communities on the sliver of delta that extends south to form Louisiana's boot.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter is highlighting his role as Louisiana's lone member on the congressional committee that drew up a final version of the federal highway bill. But he's omitting the detail that the bill blows an $859 million hole in Louisiana's Medicaid funding.
As President Barack Obama was set to sign the measure into law Friday, Louisiana's Democrats were questioning Vitter's role in slashing the Medicaid dollars and asking if he fought against the cuts.
Legislation assigning 80 percent of BP’s Clean Water Act fines to Gulf Coast states most affected by its oil spill has been approved by Congress. The landmark legislation included in the Transportation Bill is expected to mean billions of dollars for Louisiana.
BATON ROUGE — A scientific study has found that heavily oiled areas in Barataria Bay showed twice the normal land erosion rates in the year and a half after the massive BP oil leak in 2010. The study found oil killed marsh plants and that led to the higher rates of erosion.
Some of Louisiana's best known musicians have joined forces in an ongoing effort to help save Louisiana's coast and at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival fans will reap the benefits of the homegrown collaboration.
On Saturday, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars featuring Tab Benoit, Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Anders Osbourne, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Vidacovich, Johnny Sansone and Waylon Thibodeaux hit the Acura Stage — the festival's largest — just before another headliner: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Pictured here on April 13, 2011, Barataria Bay — part of Louisiana's Barataria Basin — was one of the hardest hit areas in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Today, obvious signs of the spill have faded, but communities are still reeling from its effects.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Orange Beach, Ala., Environmental Manager Phillip West holds a tar ball that has washed onto the area's sugar-white sand beaches. He says the clumps of weathered oil come in when the surf is rough — an indication that two years later, there's still oil lingering offshore.
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
Two years later, this Bay Jimmy island is part of 200 miles of Louisiana shoreline still fouled by the BP oil spill. A layer of oil has hardened along the coast, creating a thick layer of asphalt-like tar that's choking the edge of the marsh and accelerating an already alarming rate of coastal erosion.
It's been two years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers and unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The oil has long stopped flowing and BP spent billions of dollars to clean up oiled beaches and waterways, but the disaster isn't necessarily over.
Oil fouled some 1,100 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline, but today, in most spots, you can't see obvious signs of the spill. In Orange Beach, Ala., the clear emerald waters of the Gulf roll onto sugar-white sand beaches.