Friday, February 10, 2017

Pipelines are so good

Van Ness Feldman lobbyist Mary Landrieu wrote to the Advocate this week in support of the proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline through South Louisiana wetlands. As is standard practice in rolling out these talking points, Landrieu highlighted the project's safety.
Bayou Bridge will employ state of the art technology, displacing the far more perilous modes of truck, rail and barge/ship transportation. The pipeline will provide significant economic benefits to Louisiana, including jobs during construction, jobs at the pipe manufacturing facility near Baton Rouge and taxes paid to the state and parishes.
And then wouldn't you know, the very next day... 
A fire at the Phillips 66 pipeline near the Williams Discovery natural gas plant in Paradis continued to burn Friday morning (Feb. 10), hours after an explosion injured two workers and left another missing. The area immediately around the plant has been evacuated.

St. Charles Parish officials and representatives from Phillips 66 will talk about the pipeline explosion and fire during a news conference Friday at 11 a.m., the parish announced.

The news conference will be held at the parish's Emergency Operations Center in Hahnville and will be broadcast live on the parish's government channel, Cox Channel 6 and U-Verse 99.

According to a 2 a.m. statement from Phillips 66, the pipeline had been blocked in and the remaining product in the line continued to burn. The pipeline, which runs from Venice to Paradis, carries y-grade, or raw, natural gas liquids.

It's unclear how long it will take the fire to burn out. St. Charles officials remained at the site as of 8 a.m. Friday.
Almost immediately Landrieu's colleagues in the oil and gas apology business issued a #NotAllPipelines statement. Not everybody is buying that, though. 
"The oil industry and the elected officials they've bought off will have a thousand excuses about this accident," said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "They'll say that this is a natural gas pipeline, not oil. They'll say that new technology would have prevented it. But the fire and the explosion speak for itself. Pipelines are dangerous and we don't want more in Louisiana." 
This afternoon the fire was still burning but should be out shortly.  So, if you've got a really big boiling pot, now might be the time
As crawfish season rolls on, the prices continues to tumble. This week, the average price for boiled crawfish around New Orleans dropped 33 cents to $4.68 a pound.
Still too damn high, if you ask me. But it might be your only option for at least another month
Louisiana’s vast estuary coastline has historically netted a tremendous crab harvest. The state is by far the nation’s top blue crab supplier, producing an annual average of 43 million pounds. But lately state officials have seen warning signs of over fishing.

Louisiana’s blue crab fishery is certified sustainable, which means local fishermen can assure buyers their product comes from a healthy, well-maintained resource. As part of that certification process, there are benchmarks for tracking the condition of the fishery.

“When we cross those benchmarks, we have to take action so we don’t run past the point of no return,” said Jeff Marx, crustacean biologist with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Last summer, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a crab fishing closure for 30 days each year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, beginning the third Monday of February.
One wonders how much healthier our fisheries might be today were it not for the past century's worth of spoilage at the hands of oil and gas exploration.  Maybe Mary can address this in her next letter.

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