Louisiana news briefs
Genesis port project to cost $150 million
PORT ALLEN (AP) — Houston-based Genesis Energy L.P. plans to spend $150 million to build its planned oil storage and import/export terminal at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge on the west bank of the Mississippi River.
Bob Deere, Genesis’ chief financial officer, said in a telephone interview that most of that money will be spent on storage tanks and pipelines that connect to both the port dock and ExxonMobil’s Anchorage Tank Farm in West Baton Rouge Parish.
But Deere said none of the $150 million will be spent on a rail spur that was a topic of discussion Monday during a meeting of the port’s board of commissioners, who voted to grant a Genesis subsidiary a 10-year lease on about 91 acres of land for the terminal.
Port officials said that lease would generate more than $2 million in annual revenue for the port once the subsidiary — BR Port Services LLC — begins storing and exporting oil or other bulk petroleum products to Aframax-class tankers. Those large vessels can range to more than 700 feet in length.
Police arrest man
found with ribs in pants
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Baton Rouge Police have arrested a man who was caught shoplifting nearly $100 worth of ribs taken from a Piggly Wiggly supermarket.
It happened just before noon on Sunday.
Authorities say 54-year-old Eugene Dunn was being held down in the store’s parking lot by two men when officers arrived. Police say there were about four packages of meat lying on the ground and an officer removed four more racks of ribs from Dunn’s pants.
Dunn told police he was only trying to eat and live.
Dunn faces charges of aggravated battery other deadly weapon and fifth offense of theft of goods.
Bill would ban e-cigarette sales to minors in La.
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A Ruston lawmaker wants to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 18.
Sen. Rick Gallot, a Democrat, has introduced the bill for consideration in the legislative session that begins March 10.
It would add e-cigarettes and other “alternative nicotine products” to the list of items that can’t be sold to minors in Louisiana.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate. Users get their nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.
Health groups disagree on whether the products carry serious health risks.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 27 states have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Saggy pants ban considered
PLAQUEMINE (AP) — People in Iberville Parish are considering a proposed ban on saggy pants.
Parish leaders introduced the measure at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
There are a number of towns and parishes all over Louisiana that have made a similar move, including the city of Plaquemine and town of Grosse Tete.
The proposed measure would include the unincorporated areas in Iberville Parish.
Councilman Louis Kelley Jr. says he supports the ban because he doesn’t believe people should have to look at someone’s undergarment.
The council could vote on the issue during its next meeting on March 18.
St. Martinville Co. gets Venice drainage work
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A St. Martinville construction company has won a $39.5 million contract for a drainage project and other work in Venice.
A news release from the Pentagon says Clark Construction Enterprises LLC will be building new drainage structures and access roads and ramps. The contract also involves installation of traffic control devices, highway embankment and pavement and the relocation of water lines.
The estimated completion date is Jan. 1, 2018.
Groups to feds:
Speed up sea turtle analysis
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Four conservation groups say they’ll sue the National Marine Fisheries Service because it’s taking too long to analyze shrimping’s effects on threatened and endangered sea turtles.
A letter sent Wednesday began a 60-day settlement period required before suing under the Endangered Species Act.
Fisheries spokeswoman Allison Garrett says the agency doesn’t comment about pending or active litigation. She says the analysis is underway.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Sea Turtle Conservancy and Oceana contend that shrimp nets in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Atlantic drown more than 53,000 threatened and endangered sea turtles a year.
Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, responded by email, “Two words ... ‘NOT GUILTY.’”
Some trawls must include turtle escape hatches. Shrimpers say those let shrimp escape.
$225M borrowed for work
on Louisiana rural roads
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana is borrowing $225 million to pay for improvements to rural roads around the state.
Bonds were sold Wednesday to investors for upfront cash for the road work.
The dollars will pay for construction on roads not eligible for federal matching money. The debt will be paid off over years with interest, with registration and license fees and taxes on commercial trucks and trailers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration says the money will pay for the repair and resurfacing of nearly 439 miles of road around Louisiana, most of them in rural locations. Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says some of the roads haven’t been repaired in 30 years.
Texas university to study
Red River Waterway salvinia
NATCHITOCHES (AP) — The Red River Waterway Commission has approved a cooperative endeavor agreement with Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, to research and test the university’s recently developed endocide method to control and eradicate the spread of giant salvinia.
Research will be performed at the Red River Waterway Aquatic Research Center located at Lock & Dam #3 near Colfax.
Giant salvinia is a growing problem that affects area waterways, including the Red River. It is one of the most invasive aquatic plants that dominate water bodies by overgrowing and replacing native plants that provide food and habitat for animals and waterfowl.
The plant can block out sunlight, leading to unhealthy aquatic ecosystems and a decreased quality fishery.