The Jefferson Parish Council is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the impact a proposed coal export terminal in Plaquemines Parish would have on the environment and on nearby coastal restoration projects.
The council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday calling for those studies as well as public hearings on the matter. It joined a growing chorus of local governments raising concerns about the RAM Terminals facility.
The council’s request focuses on the potential for the terminal, located near the Myrtle Grove and Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, to impact the effectiveness of that coastal restoration effort.
Ensuring the success of that project and other efforts to protect the parish’s coastline is a key concern, Councilman Ricky Templet said. His district includes most of the West Bank’s coastal areas.
Environmentalists and other opponents of the proposed coal terminal have raised concerns that open coal trains would travel through the West Bank on their way to the terminal, potentially spreading dust that could have harmful health effects and create public safety issues.
The state has already granted permits to the terminal, though those have been challenged by opponents of the plan. The project is now awaiting approval from the Corps.
The Corps, however, is charged only with assessing the impact of the project on navigable waterways in the area and not considering its other possible effects.
The Gretna and Westwego city councils have passed similar resolutions.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.