Letter: Let river return to natural state

I received the trial lawyers’ “Big Oil Bailout” slick flier in the mail about 12 days ago. My response was simply, “bovine excrement.”

The coastal erosion is occurring in the Mississippi Delta, while new islands are forming in Vermilion Bay, and the coast is growing.

The difference is the Mississippi River is being dredged to keep New Orleans and Baton Rouge as deepwater ports, and the silt that would normally settle and form land is being washed out into the Gulf where it creates “dead zones.”

If anyone is truly serious about “land loss,” then they should propose the dredging be stopped and let the river return to its natural state.

There is a display at the Visitors Center just east of the Atchafalaya that those concerned about “land loss” may want to visit. The display is a three-sided rollover that shows Louisiana 10,000 years ago (at the end of the last age), 3,000 years ago and today.

At 10,000 years there is a “Bay of Mexico” that begins at the Pearl River on the east, stretches to the Vermilion River on the west and runs parallel to today’s I-10/I-12 interstates and U.S. 90 west of Baton Rouge. There are no Lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain or Borne.

Were there a Bay of Mexico today, there would be no New Orleans, but Baton Rouge would be a true deepwater port. Then the cry would be to “stop the silting of the bay before the Baton Rouge port becomes landlocked.”

Three thousand years ago, the bay has shrunk to a point about the level of Slidell to Sorrento to Lafayette. And then we have today.

Fill for I-10 in the low lying areas was transferred from the river to the site as slurry in a pipeline. A rational solution would be to take the silt that is being pushed out into the Gulf and pump it into the areas that have experienced land loss. That also would make a decided improvement in the dead zone area of the Gulf now receiving the dredgings.

Has anyone given any thought as to why Shell dropped the NGTL project at Convent after all the publicity and announcement?

One reason, for sure, was stuff like this and having to deal with a rogue EPA at the federal level.

The formations that are producing natural gas in Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania also exist in most of Europe, particularly in the poorer eastern countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. I am sure that “Big Oil” and a Shell NGTL would be more than welcome there.

James J. “Buddy” Spears Jr.

chemical engineer

Greenwell Springs