Friday, August 28, 2015

Candidates for Lafayette City Parish President
have been invited to an
Environmental Forum
Sponsored by the Acadian Group of the Sierra Club
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 from 6:30PM – 7:30 PM
at the newly renovated Downtown Library at the corner of Lafayette and Congress

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Questions for Candidates for Lafayette City-Parish President

Below are listed the Acadian Group's questions/issues for the candidates for Lafayette City-Parish President:

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?

2.  Coal-Fired Power

At this time, the city of Lafayette holds a fifty percent ownership interest in the Rodemacher II coal plant, even though Louisiana natural gas is available at a greatly reduced cost.  In addition, the use of coal is tied to numerous environmental and economic negatives.  If the city were to sell its ownership interest in the coal plant, it could leverage that funding by investing in a more efficient and eco-friendly, Lafayette-located, combined-cycle gas plant.  This would not only lower costs that could then be passed on to citizens in the form of lowered rates, it would also generate numerous employment opportunities for locals.

What would be your thoughts on moving Lafayette forward to meet its energy needs?

3.  Lafayette’s Utility Grid System

a.      Long distance transport of electricity using alternating current is extremely wasteful.  Delivery of electricity  using alternating current over the 110 miles from the utility plant in Boyce to Lafayette may lose up to 50 percent of its power.  The implementation of a direct-current system could pay for itself in a short time and then result in lower power cost/rates.

b.      Currently, Lafayette has thousands of electric transformers using 1920s technology.  They are inefficient and thus create higher energy rates to citizens.  Replacing these old transformers, as they wear out, with more efficient, modern Transformers would result in greater efficiency and lower rates.  Since the life cycle of these transformers is about 4-5 years, the whole system could be modernized in 5 years.

c.       Generating systems such as Doc Bonin on Walker Rd. and Rodemacher at Pinhook and General Gardener are unneeded.  Divesting ourselves of these  assets could result in funding that could be used to supply electricity to Lafayette more efficiently.

d.      When the CLECO sale goes through, Lafayette will be at the mercy of a private, foreign entity.  Divorcing ourselves from CLECO in advance would result in funding that could be invested in a modern, efficient system.
           
 What is your position on these issues?

4.  Water/Sewage

Currently, Lafayette citizens pay a rate of 78 cents per hundred gallons of combined water and sewage, while the Youngsville rate is only 47 cents, and Broussard's is only 45 cents. 
What is your position?

5.  Garbage and recycling services.

The city of Lafayette does not require competitive bids for garbage and recycling services.  Currently, Lafayette citizens pay $26 a month for once-a-week pickup.  On the other hand, Broussard citizens only pay $17 a month for twice-a-week garbage pickup and one-a-week recycling.  Youngsville citizens only pay $19 dollars a month for once-a-week pickup with recycling.  This disparity can be explained by the fact that both Broussard and Youngsville have instituted a bidding procedure in order to get their citizens the best deal possible.
Do you believe that Lafayette should require bidding when contracting garbage and recycling services?  How would you make this work?

6.  LUS annual meeting

Should the city of Lafayette hold an annual meeting for LUS customers in order to provide an economic report and clarify plans for the future?

7.  Red Lights

The city of Lafayette maintains 170 red lights which not only increase pollution and fuel usage, but have earned Lafayette the dubious title of the 3rd most congested city in Louisiana behind New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
 
Would you agree that this issue needs to be studied?

8.  Horse Farm

The Horse Farm is very much beloved by the citizens of Lafayette.  Many of these citizens are seriously concerned by the fact that management of the Farm has been turned over to The Community Foundation of Acadiana, a private entity that is not required to be accountable to their wishes and concerns.  The foundation is not required to deal with bid laws, open meeting laws, or comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 

Do you believe a public treasure should be managed by an unaccountable organization that does not have to answer to the citizens who own it?

Would you return the Horse Farm back into the hands of Lafayette Parks and Recreation?


9.  Consolidation 

The city of Lafayette has no mayor or council to strictly address the specific issues that concern Lafayette City.
Should the City of Lafayette vote its way out of City Parish Government and become an independent community like Broussard, Youngsville, Duson, Scott, and Carencro?

10.  Unconsolidated areas

What is your position on dealing with fire protection, sewage, and water services in unconsolidated portions of the parish?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Meetings for January 2015

Sierra Club Acadian Group "ExCom" Conservation Meeting and Upcoming Guest Speaker

Welcome back friends! 2015 has arrived and one set of holidays has past (always with more to come.)  Before the seasonal distractions carry sway with us away, there are a couple of meetings of the Sierra Club in Acadiana this month. On January 14th will be the first meeting for all of the General Business of the Group. You know the drill, where we consult and review course of action on the various conservation issues the Group is currently concerned with and consider new issues that have arisen.

Then on January 21st, we'll have Mr. Mike Hollier of Consolidated Government's Planning
Department in to talk about the work of his office as it relates to environmental concerns we have, including increased Air Quality compliance to meet protective Ozone limitations, and how Bicycling facilities, Electric Charging Stations and other strategies can achieve those goals.

Also on deck during the January 14th meeting will be our continuing recreational excursions. This meeting will be the one at which to plan them. So come prepared. Want us to do a variety of events? Step up and become a leader this year!

Wednesday, January 14 and 21 at 6:30pm - 8:00pm

First United Methodist Church Lafayette, La
703 Lee Ave, Lafayette, Louisiana

As always, these meetings are open to every member of the Sierra Club as well as all others interested. Visit the Acadian Group of the Sierra Club's Facebook Group for automatic invites to future events: https://www.facebook.com/groups/271945356257917/

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NOVEMBER - HIKING at CAT ISLAND

NOVEMBER - HIKING at CAT ISLAND

Acadian Group is meeting up with our sister Group over in Baton Rouge for a hike at Cat Island  on Saturday, November 22,  2014

Meeting Times are 9:00am for carpoolers at the meetup in Baton Rouge and 10:30 hike leaves Trail Head.

Come and hike with us at Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge near Saint Francisville known for its old growth cypress trees.  The weather has cooled a bit. Its a good time for a hike! We will meet at Campus Credit Union at Perkins Rd and Quail Dr for carpooling. Contact Gwen Pine 225-272-5207 if you plan to attend.We may need to reschedule or make alternate plans if roads are too wet. The leisurely walk to the tree on the Big Cypress trail  is less than a mile round trip.  It is an easy walk because the trail is level and has just been improved.  After viewing the tree and surrounding area, we will head to the 2.8 mile Blackfork Walking Trail to observe other interesting flora and fauna.  If you prefer, you may opt for a shorter walk, or none at all. Bring mosquito repellent. There are no facilities on Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge.

More details at http://brsierraclub.blogspot.com/2014/11/cat-island-hike-info.html

Monday, September 15, 2014

Presentation on CWPPRA Coastal Restoration Projects

Sierra Club Acadian Group, Guest presentation
Date/Time: Wednesday, Sept 17, 6:30 pm
Location: First United Methodist Church, 703 Lee Ave, Lafayette, LA 70501

Join us on at 6:30pm on September 17th at the United Methodist Church located at 701 Lee Avenue to learn more about Louisiana’s current coastal wetlands restoration efforts.  Team members from the CWPPRA – The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act – public outreach committee will join us to discuss various techniques used to protect, preserve, and restore Louisiana’s fragile wetland ecosystems.

CWPPRA is federal legislation enacted to identify, engineer and design, and fund the construction of coastal wetlands restoration projects. These projects provide for the long-term conservation of wetlands and dependent fish and wildlife populations. Projects funded by CWPPRA are cost-effective ways of restoring, protecting, and enhancing coastal wetlands. CWPPRA has a proven track record of superior coastal restoration science and monitoring techniques in Louisiana.

Since 1990, the net Louisiana wetland area that CWPPRA has protected, created, or restored is about 100,000 acres. Greater than 426,000 acres have also been enhanced.

As of 2014, CWPPRA has 151 active restoration projects with 101 completed projects, 18 active construction projects, and 33 projects currently in engineering and design. Three (3) of the 33 projects in engineering and design are scheduled for construction during 2014.
The success of the CWPPRA program has been essential in providing critical ecosystem stabilization along Louisiana’s coast and has provided pioneering solutions for land loss.

In addition to the physical land gains made by CWPPRA, this interagency organization has been instrumental in educating the public about Louisiana’s land loss and in fostering public participation in coastal restoration activities. CWPPRA has also provided solid science and background information that helped in the identification and selection of Louisiana Coastal Area Feasibility Study Plan (LCA), Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), State of Louisiana, and Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) projects.  To learn more visitwww.LaCoast.gov



Bio:

Susan Testroet-Bergeron will be joining us to  represent the Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act’s Public Outreach Committee.  She will be sharing information about Louisiana’s coastal wetlands restoration efforts.

She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology, a Louisiana Teaching Certificate, she is former classroom teacher, and has over 15 years of experience performing education and outreach in the environmental community.  She works with several environmental organizations in the State and along the gulf coast helping to provide resources for wetland education.