Gretna residents and nonprofit environmental groups asked the state’s coastal authority Wednesday to retract its agreement with a coal terminal planned for Plaquemines Parish.
The RAM Terminal, if built, would be in Myrtle Grove on the same location the state plans to build the first sediment diversion from the Mississippi River for coastal restoration purposes.
Gretna residents objected to the coal trains that could come through their community. The environmental groups said having a coal terminal that close to the diversion would reduce the diversion’s impact while putting coal pollution into any newly formed marsh.
“We need action of the state to show we’re putting coastal restoration first,” Devin Martin, organizer with the Sierra Club, told the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority on Wednesday.
In July 2013, the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority signed a memorandum of agreement with Ram Terminals LLC on how the coal export terminal and future sediment diversion in Plaquemines Parish would interact.
“I don’t want coal trains, 100 or 110 cars long, to be coming through our neighborhood,” said Laurie Ledet, Gretna resident.
Fellow Gretna resident Gayle Bertucci said given the number of local governments in addition to a court decision against the RAM Terminal facility, the state should withdraw from the memorandum of agreement with the facility. The agreement with the facility was a part of the permit process necessary through the state Department of Natural Resources.
That permit, which DNR granted, was recently returned to the agency after the 25th Judicial District Court Parish of Plaquemines ordered on Dec. 23 that DNR didn’t have enough information to justify granting the permit.
More recently, the Plaquemines Parish Council voted unanimously in early January to deny a building permit for the facility.
In addition, Martin pointed to a study done in 2012 that showed that the infrastructure of a coal terminal in that location would reduce sediment flow through the diversion itself.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority didn’t make a comment or decision on the request to vacate the still standing agreement with RAM Terminal.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter @awold10.