CPRA Acquires 500-Acre Plaquemines Parish Site to Benefit Coastal Restoration
The site was originally intended to be a $2.5 billion oil export terminal
A 500-acre site originally earmarked for a proposed $2.5 billion oil export terminal and pipeline project by Tallgrass Energy has instead been sold to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency (CPRA). The sale allows CPRA to avoid using eminent domain to aquire land for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, which is expected to begin construction in March.
Once operational, the project is expected to build and sustain around 26,000 acres of wetlands, providing increased storm surge protection from communities in southeast Louisiana. In addition, those wetlands will serve as a habitat for Louisiana wildlife, including birds and fish.
“Our state is in a battle against time and the elements to shore up our coastlines before it’s too late,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “By prioritizing the people of Southeast Louisiana and advancing our hurricane preparedness, this agreement highlights the importance my administration has placed on attracting companies to Lousiana who prioritize Louisianans.”
The company’s original plan for a massive oil export terminal faced heavy opposition from the Ironton community and others, who noted that the planned development would be built on top of the Saint Rosalie Plantation Cemetery. Under the agreement, Tallgrass plans to work with CPRA to a committee tasked with developing a plan to protect, preserve, and memorialize the site. In addition, the company has pledged to dedicate $3 million from the sale of the site to “advance social and economic development initatives in the region,” which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ida in 2021.
“When we started witht he property in Plaquemines Parish, we set out to be a partner of Ironton and Southeast Louisiana for the long haul,” said Matt Kegg, Tallgrass’ Director of Terminals. “While our development plans changed over time, our commitment to the community remains unchanged. We are thankful for what these initiatives enable us to do for the community of Ironton, Plaquemines Parish, and Louisiana more broadly, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to begin this new chapter, together.
According to the company press release, one of the first initiatives will be to rebuild the Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
“For so many years, this community has been neglected,” Saint Paul Pastor Haywood Johnson Jr. said. “I appreciate Tallgrass’s willingness to contribute wherever needed and their decision to remain a part of our community. I look forward to our discussions about preserving the Saint Rosalie Plantation Cemetery, as well as ensuring the health and well being of Ironton.”
Under the sale agreement, Tallgrass has been given the right to continue to evaluate and pursure potential clean and renewable energy developments in the parish - something Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has pushed for throughout his administration. However, any projects will have to be evaluated by CPRA to ensure they are consistent with the sediment diversion’s operations, other restoration and flood protection objectives, the state’s coastal master plan, and the Ironton strategic plan.
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