Monday, January 25, 2016

Here is a link to our new website:

Acadian Group of the Sierra Club


Please bear with us while we are updating the new site. Thanks!

You can also visit our FB group:

Acadian Group FB Group


And please visit the Y-49 FB page:

Y-49


Friday, December 4, 2015

Notes from audience Dec 3 forum, thanks Woody


Dec 3, 2015
Sierra Club Acadian Group Y-49 meeting
Lafayette downtown public library

Questions and Concerns from public comments at the meeting:

1.      Better to pay to clean up toxics now rather than pay much more later in health care costs
2.      How far along is DOTD in acquiring property for the right of way (ROW)?
3.      What happens to houses after they are moved – Is there a process to relocate historic buildings/houses?  Response – that is dependent on personal transactions between homeowners and DOTD.
4.      What specific plans are there for cleanup of toxics before acquisition and construction?
5.      With hazardous materials in the Evangeline corridor is an alternate route in consideration? Response – No alternative route is being considered
6.      How does an elevated expressway help traffic?
7.      How does an elevated expressway help the community? Response – DOTD is responding to what the community said 20 years ago
8.      What about traffic problems, people running out of gas, accidents on an elevated expressway during hurricane evacuation? Response – it would be safer than it is now
9.      If purpose is to move Oil and equipment why not alternate routes?
10.  Does DOTD have to go through historic preservation process? Response – Yes, it is called the Section 106 process.
11.  The cost of the project has gone up from 100s of Millions to $3B
12.  What would it take to look at a new alignment
13.  Eisenhower – Interstates were supposed to go around (not through) communities
14.  What is decided, what can be changed?
15.  We have heard that elevated expy can be an enhancement, be attractive. Where can I go to see that? Response – Yes we can design to be attractive. An example of what can be done is in New Orleans at the West Bank Expy. It is not a great example, we can do better than that.
16.  Everyone should know that what they DOTD is talking about is 22 ft high, 150 ft wide, all concrete underneath. Response – that design was a literal translation of the Record of Decision (ROD), the final design does not have to be exactly like that. There was a 2002 doc published from work with three coteries that was considered in developing the design. Now there are 5 coteries.
17.  How big is the haz waste area, how much overlap with the project area? Response – Project is next to and inside of the boundaries of hazardous waste sites. We should demand that the Railroad fix the problem because if they don’t it will be on the taxpayers to fix it.
18.  What would it take to convince you that this (elevated) is not what the community wants?
19.  Why are we talking about an interstate. Shouldn’t we be talking about connecting our community? Response – we got a grant to look at connecting the community.
20.  Way back there were two referenda against the elevated expy, political leaders went ahead with it anyway.
21.  In 2003 I went to look for letters at city hall, only four letters in support.
22.  Could we do it at grade? Response – ROD would not allow that change, elevated will help connectivity.
23.  Why is the EIS being called final? Can we do another study? Response – a new alignment would require a new EIS.
24.  What stage is the project at now?
25.  What is the procedure to change the EIS/ROD?
26.  With standard interstate cost at $17M per mile and elevated cost at $350M per mile this project will not happen.
27.  What are the alternatives (to elevated)? Wouldn’t it be better to take advantage of fed $ to mitigate the toxic waste sites?
28.  If you design for 20 yrs ahead and it takes 20 yrs to build shouldn’t we be designing for 40 years, what transportation changes will occur in that time?
29.  How will the elevated help local traffic? Response – It will take some local traffic
30.  How do we go about getting a change of the decision? Response – That would have to be considered by Local government and DOTD. DOTD is now taking input, will incorporate all comments into the process.
31.  Our community (McV) is divided by Evangeline now. An elevated expy might be better.


Here is a list of our concerns. We will continue our efforts to raise public awareness:


Grassroots Engagement
   December 3, 2015
          Sierra Club

OBJECTIVE: Everyone else across the country is tearing down elevated expressways – what do we know that they don’t? EIS offered soft answers, few specifics, details and facts about lessening of impacts. Now we need HARD FACTS and DETAILS about how and when?

1. MAJOR CONTAMINATION SITES (Project Area)
A.      SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAIL YARD   (1873-1964)   (Evang Thrwy to RR Tracks/Taft to Simcoe)
·   2007 Federal Court decision found  (i) hazardous wastes throughout the entire site, (ii) present an immanent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment, (iii)must be removed, and (iv)may be polluting the Chicot Aquifer
·   Known threat to the Chicot Aquifer (our drinking water) and the Vermilion Bayou (storm water runoff). The Chicot Aquifer ranges  @ depths 40 to 80 ft below land surface of Lafayette and extends directly beneath this waste site.
·   The City should not acquire this waste site (and the cost to clean it up); construction access should be denied.

B.      LAFAYETTE POWER PLANT ( 1896-1955)   (Simcoe @ Grant)
·   Facility fueled by #6 bunker oil (known carcinogen)
·   Aerial extent and depths unknown; a full site inspection is warranted.
·   The City should not acquire this site; construction access should be denied.
·   One of Lafayette’s deepest Chicot Aquifer wells is located on lands adjacent to and between the      Rail Yard waste site and this Utility Site – a significant threat to out drinking water.

C.      LAFAYETTE LANDFILL (est.1920)  (University/General Mouton  @ Vermilion Bayou)
·   Comprehensive environmental study of this land and adjoining properties (including migration patterns) is warranted BEFORE THIS LAND IS COMMITTED TO I-49 PROJECT.

All three of these contaminated sites lie in the Project Area with the Chicot Aquifer just below posing a significant threat to our drinking water – adding to that a major construction project is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention, tons of waste generated by construction and then trucked to yet to be designated areas. Further risks inherent with redistributing contaminated soil with deep tunneling operations/construction planned for @ 4 location (Johnston, Jefferson, 2nd, 3rd, Simcoe). The Chicot Aquifer is a very valuable natural resource for us all and will serve generations to come IF WE PROTECT IT.

2. AIRPORT RUNWAY DISPLACEMENT/EXTENSION
A.      I-49 Pathway requires existing runway (40ft above sea-level) to be modified and extended into Cypress Island Swamp (8ft above sea-level) entering St. Martin Ph and crossing Bayou Tortue.
        B.   Tremendous Cost (est. vary)
        C.    New Runway will disrupt the natural flow of the Swamp, impact hydrology of the entire Wetland   
               Area (including Lake Martin). Flood stages in Lafayette and surrounding towns to be impacted.
        D.   The cost of the inherent downsides to be born by WHO???



                                                                        (over)


3. HURRICANE EVACUATION
A.   Disruptions with existing evacuation routes during entire construction cycle (10yrs?)
B.   Inadequate – no additional lane capacity and  underpasses flood.
       C.  Wrecks and hazardous substance spills on elevated highways compound evacuation traffic jams.

4. COSTS
A.   2001 estimated $150 million/per mile.
       B.  Many cost estimates did not include
a.    Hazardous Waste removal ($500 million up to $3 billion)
b.   Airport Runway ($200 million)
c.    Health costs increases and
d.   More environmental studies and testing as indicated

 When the total cost is tallied (a Billion Dollars??) is it worth it?  Add to it the cost to the environment and the potential for polluting our exquisite freshwater Chicot Aquifer –Is it worth it?  

A significant increase in the amount of hazardous material transported along the Corridor can be anticipated. Do we want it passing through our Urban Core, at any level (ground or elevated), and at any speed (70, 50, 35mph)?

WE ARE OBLIGATED TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRIONMENT, INCLUDING OUR VALUEABLE NATURAL RESOURCE – THE CHICOT AQUIFER.       BE INFORMED.    BE INCLUDED.   BE INVOLVED

Monday, October 12, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Here is a you tube link to the video of our Oct 1 Candidate's forum;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR2H0pFFACk

Also check out the FB page for photos and related info:

https://www.facebook.com/AcadianSierraClub?fref=ts

Here is a link to the Advocate's article covering the Forum:

http://theadvocate.com/news/13594603-123/lafayette-parish-president-candidates-field

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Candidate Forum - Updated Questions and Concerns

Here is a list of the questions for the upcoming Forum, along with a listing of our concerns with regard to each issue. Please feel free to comment, or ask questions



City Parish President Candidate Forum    Thursday, October 1, 2015


1.  Evangeline Throughway

There has been a great deal of discussion on plans to upgrade the Evangeline Throughway to      interstate status, even though an affordable route along the Teche Ridge already exists.  Many citizens are concerned about the numerous negative aspects of this upgrade such as a disruption to the downtown development area; the displacement of many homes, businesses and historical sites; a path over toxic waste site at the old railroad yard; and a negative impact to adjacent wetlands as the east/west airport runway will need to be pushed into the swamp.

What would your position be?

Sierra Club’s Concerns
  1.Too Expensive, way beyond available funding possibilities.

  2.Major Environmental Problems

     a.hundreds of hazardous waste sites in the path of this proposed project to be resolved (filling                 stations, cleaners, Lafayette’s old power plant, Southern Pacific Roundhouse Dump,
        old Lafayette Public Landfill)

     b.Enormous expense in resolving these issues.

     c.Driving pilings in the related test borings through these hazardous sites would seriously threaten         Lafayette’s drinking water.

  3.Extensive loss of wetlands relating to the realignment of the east/west runway into the Cypress            Island Swamp owned by the Nature Conservancy in St. Martin Parish.

  4.Loss of hundreds of homes and businesses and the related jobs.