Once again, the Port of New Orleans is trying to advance its own cause to the detriment and destruction of one of southeast Louisiana’s most historic communities: St. Bernard Parish.
First it was the Industrial Canal. Then, in 1927, they dynamited the Mississippi River levee, flooding lower St. Bernard. Then, it was the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), which destroyed wetlands in biblical proportion and enabled death and devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
Their proposal today: the Louisiana International Terminal, a massive container facility in the middle of St. Bernard Parish, a narrow strip of land unsuitable for this type of development. Beyond damage to the environment, including clearing and paving over hundreds of acres of woodland, the massive container terminal will add an incredible volume of 18-wheeler traffic on our already congested roads to transport the millions of containers the Port says will come.
The fact is there are viable alternative locations for such a facility in Louisiana. However, since they fall outside of the Port’s control, these locations are not being given proper consideration. Decisions on consequential projects such as this should not be driven by one entity’s aggressive desire for control and profit.
If this new facility is not developed in a suitable location, it will destroy any hope for a sustainable future. If mega-ships get stuck or cannot unload in a timely manner because of inadequate land transport, the container shipping industry will turn to another port and the big loser will be all of us in Louisiana.
We need our public officials at every level as well as our neighbors who treasure community life and our environment to stand with us. Let’s stop the Port of New Orleans in its tracks before they once again run over all of us and add to the damage they’ve already caused.
SIDNEY D. TORRES III