Wednesday, May 10, 2006

 

More Articles and Pictures

A New Landfill in New Orleans Sets Off a Battle


 

CHEF MENTEUR LANDFILL


Joint Public Notice

 

Recent Articles Regarding the Chef Menteur Landfill

Bill targets closure of controversial landfill in New Orleans

New Orleans Residents Lose Bid to Keep Dump Out

Limits on emergency landfills advance

New Orleans Landfill Causes Fight

Failure to halt landfill doesn't stop activists

Sunday, April 23, 2006

 

Friday, April 21, 2006

 

Dumping in the New Orleans East Landfill began today.
Don't lose hope we can still stop this travesty before it goes any further. Please write your reps, senators, newspapers, the EPA and DEQ! Whatever it takes!

Friday, April 14, 2006

 

LINKS TO OTHER SITES


Mary Queen of Vietnam Church

LEAN (Louisiana Environmental Action Network)

Environmental Injustice in New Orleans East BLOG


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Help Stop the Proposed NOLA East Landfill

This is an appeal to your social compassion, environmental understanding and economic sense. The approved landfill in East New Orleans is a travesty of democracy, side stepping public hearings and pushing through a proposal that sacrifices a community and wildlife refuge for an “easy” solution to the complicated rebuilding efforts New Orleans is faced with. Mayor Nagin has accepted a short-term solution that provides city funds but leaves a neighborhood voiceless and a protected marsh and floodplain in jeopardy.

 

Sample Letter #1 (Environmental Focus)

Please consider the broader consequences of the proposed landfill in New Orleans East. The social, environmental and tourist industry losses are being ignored because of the appeal of a quick solution. There are no quick solutions for the devastation New Orleans has suffered especially when avoiding the long-term consequences of rash decisions and sacrificing the value of natural resources.

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 23 000 acres of the Eastern city limits of New Orleans. It represents the largest urban, national wildlife refuge in the United States and is one of the last remaining marshlands adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne. Bayou Sauvage protects New Orleans from storm surges and flooding as a part of the larger, natural Eastern hurricane floodplain.

According the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are stipulations restricting the
location of landfills in order to “ensure that landfills are built in suitable geological areas, away from faults, wetlands, flood plains and other restricted areas.” The Bayou Sauvage represents both a protected wetland environment and flood plain. The proposed landfill, adjacent to the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge violates these guidelines.

New Orleans city zoning ordinances were suspended by Mayor Nagin using his emergency powers, seven months after the storms, to ignore the EPA guidelines and zoning allowance of the property for light industrial use. This corresponded, coincidently, with the promise that 22 percent of the gross revenue generated by the landfill would go to the city.

Solid waste, including the deposition of construction and demolition debris can negatively impact
surface and ground water, while the associated dust from both the transport and deposition of the material may decrease air quality and visibility. This is crucial to consider in light of the fact that the Bayou Sauvage is a sanctuary for many types of Louisiana wildlife, as well as a delicate and endangered ecosystem working to protect New Orleans from floods.

Beyond the important environmental contributions and functions of this Wildlife Refuge, Bayou Sauvage is an important and successful tourist attraction within the New Orleans city limits. The Bayou Sauvage Wildlife Refuge receives 150 000 visitors annually, who come to canoe, hike, bike, bird watch, fish, crab, crawfish and visit historic sites.

New Orleans cannot afford to sacrifice more floodplains that protect the city, marshlands, that provide sanctuary to wildlife, and visitors' attractions, that help rebuild New Orleans tourist industry. For a couple dollars now and a quick solution, the long-term consequences of this landfill on the Bayou Sauvage Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas have not been considered at environmental and economic level.

 

Sample Letter #2 (Social Focus)

Despite the challenges faced by displaced communities, New Orleans East Village celebrated Vietnamese New Year successfully and with great attendance. The ceremony not only brought thousands of people into New Orleans, but also showcased plans to build a new retirement centre for aging members of the community. Church services resumed at the Mary Queen of Vietnam church within weeks of the storm, despite extensive flood and wind damage to the church and neighborhood.

The rebuilding efforts of this unique ethnic enclave is a model for all New Orleans, and is jeopardized by the proposed landfill site only one mile down the road.

Decreasing property values, decreased air quality due to dust and those associated health issues as well as the potential pollution of water ways, including the Maxent Lagoon, are a few consequences of the proposed landfill and only scratch the surface of its total, long term impact. For example, the Lagoon Maxent runs directly into the Michoud Canal, which not only winds its way through the
community but also is the site of the unique, terraced garden features of the East Village. This agricultural activity provides an outlet for many older refugees fighting the stress of displacement, as well as supplementing household meals with fresh vegetables and as surplus is sold at the weekly farmer’s market. The terraced gardens and market are not only critical aspects of the community’s well being, but a vistor's attraction for many local Louisianans and tourists alike. Entrepreneurship in the area is also important. Prior to the storm, the neighborhood had a thriving business community, which had shown steady growth: from 40 locally owned and operated businesses in 1991 to 90 in 2003.

But why would a community wish to return to a city comparing their neighborhood value to that of a landfill? To an area that will potentially suffer increased health issues, decreased property values and loss of business? To an area that up until now has been invisible in the political and media arenas. During Katrina, newspaper articles in California tracked the plight of trapped East Village residents, weeks sooner than local media. Now the Mayor’s office chooses to recognize the community, but not to help it rebuild, instead as a source of city income and quick fix solution.

Failing to recognize the potential financial, health and social consequences of this proposed landfill denies the East Village community its voice in New Orleans and New Orleans the richness and diversity the East village represents.


 

Satellite Image of New Orleans East


 

Letter Format and Talking Points

Letter Format

Senator/State Representation/Mayor/Honorable NAME
Address

Dear (Title Here) Name

Talking Points

Sincerely,
Your Name
Address
Phone Number

 
If you have only 10 minutes….
Please send an email to one of the listed agencies or offices.

If you have more time…
Please write a maximum 1-page handwritten letter. Anecdotal and personal stories are encouraged. Please find talking points below, but let your own stories, interactions and experiences in New Orleans East guide your letter. Please contact as many of the below agencies as you are willing to write to.

LETTERS and EMAILS
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
Officeof Environmental Services
Water and Waste Permits Division
Post Office Box 4313
Baton Rouge LA 70821-4313

Mayor C. Ray Nagin
New Orleans City Hall
1300 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Contact the Mayors Office
click on Contact Us and Contact Mayor C. Ray Nagin

City Council*

Please check your city council person at:
Find and Contact Your City Council Reprentative
*For the city council, please include a line thanking them for their resolution urging Mayor Nagin to recind his decision regarding the landfill location

State Senator**

Please check your State Senator at
Find and Contact Your State Senator

State Representative**
Please check your State Representative at
Find and Contact Your State Reprenstative

Senator Mary Landrieu
Please check the appropriate office to mail and email Senator Mary Landrieu at
Contact Mary Landrieu

Senator David Vitter
Please check the appropriate office to mail and email Senator David Vitter at
Contact David Vitter

**Please ensure you contact the Senator and Representative where you live.

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