Despite overwhelming public outcry against Entergy's gas plant, on March 8th New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 in it's favor. Here is how New Orleans community leaders and advocates are responding, and how you can get involved.
Appeal filed in Louisiana District Court, rehearing request filed with City Council
New Orleans, LA -- The Alliance for Affordable Energy, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice, Sierra Club and 350 New Orleans filed two legal actions on Monday: an appeal of the New Orleans City Council’s approval of Entergy’s gas plant in Louisiana District Court and a petition to City Council requesting a “rehearing” to reconsider the March 8 Council decision.
“The right of New Orleanians to have a fair process was denied in the Council’s decision to approve Entergy’s gas plant,” said Monique Harden, Attorney, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. “The Council has a chance to get this right by reversing its decision, removing the biased Advisors from decision making, and examining critical evidence that shows that Entergy’s gas plant is not needed and will harm New Orleans.”
Both the appeal and rehearing request maintain that the Council approval of Entergy’s gas plant application was the result of a flawed process. Despite receiving explicit Council direction to model alternative scenarios to a gas plant, Entergy failed to fully analyze whether a combination of less costly transmission upgrades, battery storage, renewable resources, and energy efficiency could meet the City’s electric utility needs.
“Entergy’s gas plant threatens our future and we will continue to fight for our children, our community,” said Minh Nguyen, Executive Director of VAYLA in East New Orleans. “We need City Council to do the right thing and stand up to its Advisors and Entergy’s influence.”
The appeal and rehearing request challenge the multiple and conflicting roles played by the Council’s utility consultants, called the “Advisors.” The Advisors negotiated a settlement agreement with Entergy that included a provision calling on Entergy to pursue a gas plant in New Orleans before the company applied to build one. The Advisors then acted as both an advocate for the gas plant as well as the Council’s legal staff who wrote the ultimate decision in this case. The legal concern about the Advisors’ conflicting roles was examined by the New Orleans Office of the Inspector General in a New Orleans Utilities Regulation report released in 2015.
“I look forward to our day in court,” said Dawn Hebert, Vice President, Lake Willow Neighborhood Association in East New Orleans. “The Council did not listen to the community, and we will continue to fight for the equitable, affordable and sustainable energy future that New Orleans deserves.”
The Council also failed to put in place any protections for ratepayers against cost overruns associated with the gas plant. All Entergy customers in Orleans Parish will see higher electric bills every month for 30 years or more if Entergy builds its $230 million gas plant. Entergy plans to build this new gas power plant on a FEMA floodplain within 2 miles of homes, churches, and schools. The communities directly harmed will face billions of pounds of toxic air pollution and increased flood risk. Opponents emphasize that dumping a polluting industry in a Vietnamese, Black and Latinx neighborhood is environmental racism.
The Energy Future New Orleans coalition includes Alliance for Affordable Energy, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, VAYLA and 350 New Orleans.
Filed with New Orleans City Council
Filed with Louisiana District Court
What you can do
Call or email your Council Members and urge them to establish a fair process for New Orleans residents to have a voice in the decision on Entergy’s proposed projects.
Attend City Council Utility, Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Committee (UCTTC) meetings in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Join the movement- Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved.
Members of the City Council:
Jason Williams (At-Large) email@example.com | 658-1070
Jared Brosset (Dist. D) firstname.lastname@example.org | 658-1040
James Gray (Dist. E) email@example.com | 658-1050
Susan Guidry (Dist. A) firstname.lastname@example.org | 658-1010
Stacy Head (At-Large) shead@ nola.gov | 658-1060
LaToya Cantrell (Dist. B) email@example.com | 658-1020
Nadine Ramsey (Dist. C) firstname.lastname@example.org | (504) 658-1030