Louisiana citizens fight for rights to clean safe water
Due to the latest assault on Louisiana citizens’ human rights to clean, safe and fishable waters, Louisiana Environmental Action Network is leading people’s legal action against Temple-Inland paper mill that’s alleged failure to comply with permitted discharge limits, regulations, and water quality standards turned Pearl River into slimy black liquor carrying thousands of dead fish and other animals through one of Earth’s last standing Cypress stands, through Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone.
“The rights of LEAN members and the citizens of Louisiana to clean, safe, and fishable waters have been violated and we are exercising all options to protect those rights,” stated Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) in a written statement released Tuesday after its Notice of Intent was filed.
The disaster has not only caused death of all fish in the river according to residents, maggots are feeding atop the waters.
“Every fish in our river is dead. Not just one, not just two, every fish in our river is done. We have had oxygen deficiencies before and it don’t kill everything in the river. This has killed everything in the river. Every species of fish here is dead,” one member of the Mitchell family had told WAFB TV reporters.
“For families like the Mitchells, living along the Pearl River isn’t just beautiful scenery, it’s a complete way of life,” stated WAFB.
“We feed our families three times a week from these rivers. Whether it be frogs, fish, the wildlife that we hunt during the Winter it’s a big portion of our meat for the year,” on of the Mitchell’s said.
Waltzer & Wiygul Law Firm is providing counsel to LEAN, Louisiana’s primary environmental group.
Waltzer & Wiygul have issued the following:
“Notice Of Intent to file Citizen Suit for Failure to Comply with Water Pollution Control Permit, Clean Water Act and Louisiana State Law; Notice of Intent to Sue for Violation of the Endangered Species Act, Section 9.”
The NOI was signed by Mr. Robert Wiygul on August 26.
According to the NOI and the statement issued by LEAN, Temple Inland violated Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act by causing the “take” of at least two fish, the Gulf Sturgeon, the inflated heel-splitter mussel, plus possibly other listed threatened or endangered species.
LEAN stated that Waltzer & Wiygul Law Firm are long-time supporters of its work.
Temple Inland paper plant, in Bogolusa, Louisiana, is permitted to discharge some black liquid into the water “but, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the company had a problem where they dumped a substance called “black liquor” into the creek according to WAFB.
On August 8, locals began reporting the disaster.
By August 16, a ten mile long white, frothy, foam line with dead fish was mapped, from Rigolets Pass almost to Bayou Bonfouc, according to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
A Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson told WAFB that Temple Inland could face hefty fines.