There’s good news ahead for lovers of our beloved Louisiana coast.
We are starting to get the oil and gas industry to repair the damages they brought to our solid coast during the decades when they dug canals through our marshes in search for oil and gas, and left them as open conveyers of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico to help destroy our wetlands.
For many of our citizens, it was a destruction of the places where we lived and made our living.
And for many more, it was depriving us of the great fun and pleasures we enjoyed in one of the world’s greatest coastal areas.
A new project is being developed at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Barataria Unit where some $8.7 million will be funded by BP as part of its settlement to repair part of the damages caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
This appears to be one of the first such damages reimbursed by the oil and gas industry.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s when much of our coastline was damaged, it came from the digging of canals through our marshland to gain access for the drilling of oil and gas wells and the laying of pipelines in our wetlands.
This was with understanding that after the drilling was completed, the canals dug for it would be backfilled and our normal coastline restored. But that did not happen in most cases.
The unrestored canals filled wetlands becoming, instead, conveyors of salt water from the Gulf which killed much of the vegetation that kept our coast solid.
Nowadays, it is mostly wetlands with very little solid turf to even label as land.
In the 1980s, attempts were made to get the petroleum companies to backfill the unused canals they dug but very little happened.
Now we have salt water canals throughout our coastal area bringing death and destruction to our vegetation in the wetlands that already has brought much open water to areas that used to be solid land.
Take a ride over the bridges in the Leeville areas and you will see what we mean.
Backfilling the canals that were dug to access drilling areas and laying pipelines when the oil companies are finished doing it would save thousands of acres of Louisiana coast.
No doubt about it … it would help give Louisiana a solid coast again.
Lawsuits filed by the Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East in 2013 and some filed by individual parishes asking that petroleum companies be required to pay the damages caused by their digging for such canals and pipelines, which was the original intent of the law, have already been filed and are currently working their way through courts.
Reports are that some companies are already obliging to do so. According to some observers, it is already almost impossible to tell where a Shell pipeline is located. The company reportedly buried the pipelines in small ditches, which were immediately covered up to allow the natural flow of water in our wetlands to continue.
That is what we have to do to keep our coast in existence.