EvanMarie Allison, Event & Rapid Response Coordinator
On Monday December 10th, my co-worker Matthew Kern and I took a tour of the newly proposed RAM coal terminal backed by Armstrong Energy with members from Gulf Restoration Network, Sierra Club, and Public Citizen. Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to approve a Clean Air permit for a proposed coal terminal right next a much needed wetland restoration project supported by the State and the government is appalling. Plaquemines Parish Councilman Burghart Turner, fifth-generation resident of Ironton and staff member to Councilman Turner Audrey Salvant, and president of the Myrtle Grove Homeowners Association Warren Lawrence, were kind enough to accompany us on the tour. The communities of Ironton and Myrtle Grove are sandwiched between the IMT coal terminal, Conoco Phillips oil refinery, and a grain elevator. Residents have enough air quality issues to deal with let alone plopping an additional terminal on top of them. Mr. Lawrence said it was a shame that it was raining the day we went out because you can typically wipe coal dust right off of his home’s railings. Ms. Salvant said her family has been living in the Ironton community since the 1800s and is afraid the proposed RAM terminal will displace her community. The proposed terminal would be located in an area that would greatly threaten the effectiveness of the coastal restoration plan. A plan which Scott Eustis of GRN said, “is the number one priority diversion project for both the State and Government.” The thought that the new terminal and the diversion project could co-exist in the same location just doesn’t make any sense to me. The Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, and other environmental groups are challenging the DEQ approved Clean Air permit.