Louisiana


Indigenous People of Louisiana and the Oil Industry: An Ishak Reflection

Jeffery U. Darensbourg, freelance writer, speaker, and editor, , UCS

While doing field research in 2018 for a book, I took a boat to a shell midden in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, near where the Vermilion River – long home to my ancestors of various sorts – meets up with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway before spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. My people, the Ishak, also known as the Atakapa (or even the Atakapa-Ishak) once inhabited the nearby Onion Bayou. Our ancient midden is bisected by a ship channel known as Four Mile Cutoff.

Standing there, I watched ships ferrying workers and equipment for oil exploration, going straight through the middle of this remnant of our cultural legacy. In our tribal creation myth, the first Ishak walked out of that very gulf onto our lands. Now something else coming from there is a dominant cultural, environmental, and economic force.

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Clouds associated with a tropical disturbance bubbled up over the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Credit: NOAA

How Climate Risks Get Compounded: Louisiana Grapples With Heavy Rain, Tropical Storm Barry, and Swollen Mississippi

, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

Heavy recent rains, along with the looming threats from tropical storm Barry, are putting New Orleans and other Louisiana communities at risk of major, life-threatening flooding.

Images from earlier this week show city streets turned into rivers as close to 9 inches of rain fell in three hours. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is predicting that tropical storm Barry could come ashore on Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane. Meanwhile, the Mississippi is flowing very high due to heavy rains in the Midwest and South Central US earlier this year. Additional rain and storm surge from Barry mean that flooding is forecast to be extensive, and warnings have been raised that some levees in Louisiana could be overtopped or come close to that.

This chain of compound climate-related risks highlights the kinds of unprecedented threats climate change is forcing on people. Read more >

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Photo: Tikilucas/Wikimedia Commons

Seasonal Shutdowns: How Coal Plants That Operate Less Can Save Customers Money

, Senior Energy Analyst

There is a growing trend amongst coal plant operators: save customers money by switching to seasonal operation and operating less. Operators can secure those savings for customers because other resources (like wind, solar and other resources) are often available at lower cost. Reduced operations also translate to reduced emissions.

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Photo: Tikilucas/Wikimedia Commons
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Doing More to Protect Frontline Communities Ten Years After Katrina

, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

As we come up on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the terrible devastation wrought by the hurricane is in the headlines again. For those who experienced the storm first-hand, the ongoing struggle to recover is ever-present and this must be a wrenching anniversary. What can we do as a nation to support frontline communities to be better prepared and protected for future disasters? How can we better account for the growing risks to coastal communities, especially in light of sea level rise and worsening storm surge?  And how can we ensure that we channel our investments in an equitable way so as to build resilience in all communities? Read more >

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