Julie Dermansky's blog

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction Mess Poses Major Risk to Atchafalaya Basin

Read time: 6 mins

It is a crime against nature,” Jody Meche, president of the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West, said while scanning the Bayou Bridge pipeline right-of-way on the west side of the Atchafalaya Basin, the country’s largest river swamp in a designated National Heritage Area. 

His voice trembled with rage as he told me that he was speaking for all the animals living in the basin that can’t speak for themselves.

“The Bayou Bridge pipeline has left a dam across the Atchafalaya Basin affecting the fisheries, the birds, the otters, minks, raccoons, and nutria,” Meche said.

Already Burning for a Month, Fracked Gas Blowout in Louisiana Could Last Two More Months

Read time: 7 mins
Gas well blowout burning in Louisiana on October 1

For the fifth week since the blowout began, a large flare is still burning**update below** at the site of GEP Haynesville, LLC’s blown out fracked gas wells in northwestern Louisiana. The blowout occurred on August 30, shortly after the company began a frack job, igniting two adjacent wells. A state official estimated that efforts to contain the blowout could take another two months, or more.

Greta’s UN Climate Summit Speech Successfully Predicted More Business as Usual From World Leaders

Read time: 7 mins
Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit

On Monday, the United Nations Climate Action Summit opened with a glossy video projected around the room. It hawked a hopeful message that climate catastrophe can be averted. With the lights turned down and music turned up, for a few minutes the summit felt like an IMAX movie experience. 

Unfortunately, the video is symbolic of the summit itself — all talk, little action,” Jesse Bragg, media director at Corporate Accountability, said via email.

A scathing speech by Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg and the passing presence of President Trump upstaged presentations from world leaders, who in some cases did announce pledges to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but overall failed to offer visionary solutions for the rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

New York City Climate Strike in Photos

Read time: 3 mins
Climate Strike in New York City

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, inspired millions of students worldwide to take part in climate strikes on Friday, September 20 to demand politicians take urgent steps to stop climate change. An estimated 250,000 strikers marched in New York City from Foley Square to Battery Park. 

The global climate strikes took place before the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. The opening session of the summit is on September 21, with the fitting kickoff: Young People at the Frontlines. Greta Thunberg will be addressing the assembly on September 23.

Many of New York City’s student strikers expressed fear about their future when I asked them about their motivation for joining the strike.

Fracked Gas Well Blowout in Louisiana Likely to Burn for the Next Month

Read time: 8 mins
Fracked gas well blowout in Haynesville Shale Louisiana

A fracked natural gas well in northwest Louisiana has been burning for two weeks after suffering a blowout. A state official said the fire will likely burn for the next month before the flames can be brought under control by drilling a relief well.

Following Pushback, Chinese-owned Chemical Giant Pulls Plug on Massive Plastics Project in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

Read time: 5 mins

Chinese giant Wanhua Chemical officially withdrew its plans to build a $1.25 billion plastics manufacturing complex in St. James, Louisiana, in the heart of the already industrialized Cancer Alley. The news bought relief to opponents of the plant. 

I’m glad they won’t be coming,” Eve Butler, a lifelong resident of St. James Parish, told me in a call. “I live straight across the river from where the plant was going to be built.” Butler was part of a group of residents, local community groups, and environmental advocacy nonprofits that took part in a concentrated battle to stop the Wanhua plant from being built. 

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