As 3rd anniversary of BP oil spill nears, wetlands’ restoration advocated — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | BP will pay billions of dollars to repair damage that included coastal erosion. In the meantime, though, there’s little good news:
The northern edge of Bay Jimmy in Plaquemines Parish is significantly smaller than it was just one year ago. … The Bay Jimmy area has been used as a test ground to find the best way of treating oiled wetlands, but many of the treatment methods, including hand and machine raking and pressure spraying, also damaged the remaining grasses, making them susceptible to erosion.
Fortunately, an “explosion in oil-munching bacteria” processed a good chunk of the pollution flowing from the Macondo well site, according to environmental biologist Terry Hazen. However, we still don’t know to what extent the oil-eating microbes disrupted underwater ecosystems in the Gulf.
In a related story, The Advocate writes about lingering questions regarding the health of the coastal ecosystem.
Killing Keystone could risk more oil spills by rail — Fuel Fix | In the wake of the oil pipeline spill in Arkansas, an energy analyst from the Brookings Institution claims that if plans are canceled for the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast, then Canada will export more oil by train, a mode of transport that registers nearly three times more spills than pipelines.
Energy secretary nominee Ernest Moniz backs increased use of natural gas – The Washington Post | At a congressional hearing, Moniz (who, judging by the animated photos, is a photojournalist’s dream) told lawmakers that hydraulic fracturing drilling has led to a natural gas “revolution” in cleaner energy.
Gusman: Move to place OPP under receivership a ‘blatant political attack’ — WWLTV.com | Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman objected to the city’s formal filing for receivership of OPP and said Mayor Mitch Landrieu is picking political fights instead of focusing on the city’s fiscal problems.
Theories abound on collapse of River Birch investigation — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Gordon Russell and Manuel Torres explore the various theories about why the Department of Justice abruptly dropped the River Birch landfill probe. One theory that receives in-depth treatment is that the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice, which took over the investigation after the local U.S. Attorney’s Office became embroiled in scandal related to anonymous online comments, was simply outclassed:
A June 2012 article in U.S. News and World Report has been making the rounds in New Orleans in the wake of the River Birch collapse. Titled “Government’s Leading Anticorruption Group Fraught With Failure,” the article suggests that the Public Integrity Section, once viewed as an enviable perch within the Justice Department, is now regarded as a legal Siberia. It’s possible [River Birch landfill owner Fred] Heebe’s legal team … simply ran circles around Public Integrity, and that the Washington crew decided to cut its losses.
Here is the U.S. News & World Report article referred to in the story: “Government’s Leading Anticorruption Group Fraught with Failure.”
Who Polices Prosecutors Who Abuse Their Authority? Usually Nobody – ProPublica | Disciplinary committees rarely take serious measures, such as disbarment, suspension or censure, against prosecutors.
Gentrification flap rooted in an older debate over New Orleans ‘exceptionalism’ — The Lens | Professor C.W. Cannon traces the roots of the debate over the dreaded G-word.
Wild parakeets displaced by Jefferson Avenue tree clearing may live on as Newman ‘Greenies’ — Uptown Messenger | “The tree clearing began April 1 in preparation for the $46 million installation of a new box canal under the Jefferson Avenue neutral ground between Constance and Dryades streets over the next three years.” The article notes that the popular neighborhood parakeets are actually considered an invasive species.
America’s Ugliest & Saddest Main Street — Dirty Laundry: Musings of a Former News Man | Blogger Griffin Scott locates the most misbegotten Main Street in the country, yet it’s one we’ve all seen.
Audit questions $6.1 million in costs on $105 million Recovery School District building project | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
A state audit faults the Recovery School District for not properly overseeing modular campus construction after Hurricane Katrina, resulting in $6.1 million in questionable costs on the $105 million project. … The report lands as New Orleans works its way through a massive school rebuilding plan funded in large part by nearly $2 billion in FEMA funds. It also comes just a week after … a separate audit showing that $2.7 million in property had been lost, misplaced or stolen from the Recovery School District in the last 4 years.
Superintendent John White continues to ignore legitimate media requests for DOE public records — Louisiana Voice | Blogger Tom Aswell is fed up: “The biggest sticking point with White, insofar as LouisianaVoice is concerned, is the difficulty (make that impossibility) of squeezing what are clearly public records out of DOE.”
Government & Politics
Mitch Landrieu on New Orleans’ ‘Economic Miracle’ – Adam Kushner – The Atlantic Cities | In a weeklong series on New Orleans, Kushner writes, “Things are looking up for this city. … From tragedy arose opportunity: New Orleans has used the hurricane recovery effort to confront some of its longtime political, economic, and social pathologies—the problems that seemed to leave it on the bottom of those worst-in-the-country lists.” Landrieu talks about how the city can keep the positive momentum going.
Collapse of Jindal plan spawns unfunded schemes to phase out income tax — The Lens | Some of the alternatives to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax plan include radical proposals to cut now, pay later.
With Popularity Fading at Home, Is Jindal the New Romney? – FiveThirtyEight — The New York Times | This headline has to hurt. Jindal was slow to support Mitt Romney last year and immediately criticized Romney after he lost. Now Jindal is being compared to the one he criticized. But poll guru Nate Silver says the parallel isn’t as bad as it might seem. Jindal’s poor approval numbers don’t automatically eliminate him as a 2016 aspirant:
Would Republicans really consider nominating someone who is so deeply unpopular among his own constituents? Actually, you don’t have to go back very far to find a precedent for when Republicans did exactly that. Their nominee last year, Mitt Romney, was very unpopular among Massachusetts voters by the time he finished his single term as governor in 2006.”