The Alliance for Affordable Energy's weekly discussion on energy matters in Louisiana. We talk tech, policy, politics, economics, Civil & environmental Rights, and the fair transition to clean and affordable energy. Giving you the information you need to use your power.
Sophie Zaken and Logan Burke learn about Pipeline Regulation, Building Codes, Save our Key Deer, and Stop the 30 Meter Telescope from Professor Marianne Cufone and Loyola Law students Derek Heath, Stacie Osborn, Matthew Thompson, and Justin Macadangdang.
A sincere thank you goes out to Professor Marianne Cufone, Director of Environmental Law And Policy Lab Loyola University New Orleans College of Law for leading these students in their work and joining us on the radio!
*** Check out our 2019 interview with Professor Cufone on Environmental Law and Policy as well as the recirculating farms coalition in NOLA- PPH 65 ***
1) Pipeline Regulation - Derek Heath and AAE
In Louisiana, the regulation of intrastate oil and gas pipelines fall under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, as pipelines are categorized as “common carriers” of intrastate goods/services (like oil and gas). Under their jurisdiction (which has independent plenary authority) the LPSC regulates other common carriers, like intrastate trucking, and have firm regulations and policies associated with trucking licenses. The Commission does not currently have any rules or regulations related to oil and gas pipelines, and as such, corporations are taking private land to construct pipelines, in some cases without proper notice to landowners or government. In a recent case, an oil and gas company started construction on a pipeline over private lands, were found guilty of breaking the law, but was awarded the private land anyway, and the landowners only received $150 as compensation for their property. We're losing Louisiana piece by piece, and the LPSC needs to step in and make rules.
2) Building Codes - Stacie Osborn and AAE
Energy Building codes for residential homes (rules that govern how efficient new residential construction must be) in Louisiana are frozen in law since 2009. This means homes are being built with outdated technology and people are paying way more for energy and using way more energy than they should because our code is not up to modern standards.We want to ask our state Legislature to allow the Louisiana code to be updated now, and then have a path forward in future years to continue to be updated without another legislative intervention. The law itself prevents updating of the code. This can be changed with one simple edit - substitute "most current" for the year "2009". It's a simple legislative fix!
3) Keep Key Deer on the Endangered Species List - Matthew Thompson and Save Our Key Deer
A unique species of deer, known as the Florida Key deer, live in the Florida Keys, south of Miami. This string of islands attached by bridges are narrow strips of land, with limited fresh water. As such, these deer have adapted to difficult living conditions - they are very small, mostly come out at night and can swim from island to island. However, these strategies also make them vulnerable - they are often hit and killed on the roadways at night. The population is endangered (under the Endangered Species Act) and therefore has some set protections. The current administration is planning to downlist the Key deer, most likely because their existence impedes construction in the Florida Keys. Tourism is the biggest industry and companies would like to build more hotels and housing to increase revenue. The arguments for downlisting are: 1. The Key deer population is fine, and 2. The Florida Keys will be underwater due to climate change, why waste resources on a population likely to die off anyway. Both of these do not match existing science. Tourists love the Key deer and they are important to the ecology and economy of the Florida Keys.
4) Stop the 30 Meter Telescope - Justin Macadangdang and KAHEA Ka (The) Hawai'i Environmental Alliance
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a proposed extremely large telescope that has become controversial due to its planned location on Mauna Kea, a mountain in Hawai'i which is considered sacred by many indigenous people. The complaint is that industrial development at the summit of Mauna Kea desecrates the very nature/essence of this important place, by destroying the open, unobstructed space that is characteristic of conservation districts. The TMT has already received its permits and is scheduled to begin development any day. There are a number of protesters physically blocking the roadway to the development site. Government and the protesters have been in a deadlock for years. Many Hawaiians are calling for the resignation of the governor, the President of the University of Hawai'i and other elected officials over this matter. Native Hawaiians are not backing down.
Original Air Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2020
Logan A. Burke & Sophie Zaken