environment

Eve Troeh / WWNO

WWNO News Director Eve Troeh visited Vietnam on assignment to report on the effects of climate change in a place with water challenges similar to New Orleans. She says it was an adventure unlike any she has recently experienced.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services / Wikimedia Commons

As we explore the Gulf Coast more comprehensively than ever before, trying to understand better the complex relationships inherent in the restoration process, there's a lot to learn and keep track of.

In order to both understand and talk about coastal erosion, an expanded vocabulary is needed — one filled with brand-new terms whose definitions are integral to absorbing the problems and solutions Louisiana faces around water and land loss.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is allocating $2.4 million on top of congressional spending this year for dredging the Red River. The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Navigation Project received the additional funds for operation and maintenance. The head of the Red River Waterway Commission, Ken Guidry, says the funding is critical to keep industries based at the Port of Caddo-Bossier and the Alexandria Port.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Louisiana faces the highest relative rates of sea level rise in the world. As policy and funding debates rage over how to best restore and protect our coastal communities, local leaders also look for allies elsewhere.

On the other side of the globe, Louisiana has found sympathetic ears in Vietnam. That nation also has a below-sea-level region at the mouth of a great river. Increased conversation and meetings aim to find out how shared geography might lead to shared solutions. 

President Obama is proposing that an offshore revenue sharing plan, set to provide Louisiana millions of dollars in revenue for coastal restoration, be replaced with a plan that would spread that money across the nation for various issues.

  

Explosions used to be no big deal for residents of sleepy rural towns in north Louisiana's piney woods near the Arkansas border. Blasts meant jobs.

The Army's Camp Minden was the site of a former ammunition factory built during World War II. The factory closed in the 1990s. Still, the place is littered with millions of pounds of leftover artillery waste.

The stuff in question is called M6, a toxic propellant in grenades and artillery rounds. The Army doesn't use it anymore, and tons of M6 are stored in bunkers at Camp Minden.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Louisiana faces the highest relative rates of sea level rise in the world. As policy and funding debates rage over how to best restore and protect our coastal communities, local leaders also look for allies elsewhere.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

A New Orleans organization is trying to help fund coastal restoration by quantifying Louisiana wetlands, using hard numbers as a way to offset global carbon emissions.

Companies that send lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — such as power plants and oil refineries — need to offset some of that pollution. So they invest in green carbon projects by spending money on things like protecting forests. One Louisiana company wants to expand that tactic to the Gulf Coast.

Now it’s BP’s turn in court.

The oil company will be calling witnesses as it makes a case for civil penalties lower than the $13.7 billion the federal government wants from the 2010 oil spill.

The second week of a three-week trial is set to begin today in New Orleans.

Last week, government experts testified about environmental, economic and social damage caused by the spill.

BP attorneys disputed much of that testimony, and have argued the recovery of the environment and the Gulf economy has been strong.

Opponents of a plan to burn 15 million pounds of M6 artillery propellant in storage at Camp Minden say several much safer alternatives should be considered.

State Rep. Gene Reynolds of Minden was among speakers in a teleconference Thursday assembled by the activist group Louisiana Progress Action.

Reynolds is meeting with munitions experts at the Pentagon on Friday. He wants to call a joint meeting of the state’s Homeland Security oversight committee to allow federal and state agencies and the military to testify under oath about the status of the explosives.

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