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Stolthaven toxin release sends a bad message about the Louisiana DEQ

I'll never forget 1987 and the first and only term of former Governor Buddy Roemer. Roemer was trying to turn Louisiana around.  He was a reform-minded governor before reform was cool. 

One of the first moves Roemer made was to appoint Virginia Van Sickle as the head of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ for short). 

DEQ in Louisiana up to that point was nothing more than a name.  There was no enforcement of environmental law and Louisiana was doing what it's always done: let industry into our state that no other state wanted, and allow them to polute our air, land, and water.  Roemer had other ideas. 

With Van Sickle in charge, Roemer actually started to enforce environmental laws already on the books and industry didn't like it.  Soon Roemer was defeated for reelection and Louisiana's environmental laws were soon ignored again and mostly still are today. 

The latest example is the Stolthaven terminal in Plaqumines Parish.  During Isaac, the facility apparently released large amounts of toxins into the environment and didn't notify DEQ. 

The fine for exposing citizens of Louisiana to these fatal chemicals: $12,000!   12 grand?!?   Stolthaven can pay that fine without even blinking. 

The message is clear in Louisiana: "Attention industry. No matter what you do and no matter how much you pollute, there's a place for you in Louisiana. And we don't care if you harm out citizens". 

Great message if you own a chemical plant no one wants. Bad message for the citizens if Louisiana.

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