Backfill ordinances on the table at next PPC meetingAug 21st, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
The six month moratorium on the issuance of new borrow pit permits may soon be lifted if the council votes on the new legislation at their August 21 meeting.
An ordinance was introduced at the August 9 meeting that would lift the six month moratorium on permits, but in order for that to pass, the current legislation— the culprit for many of the parish’s lawsuits due to its hazy backfill language— must be replaced.
Currently, there are two different borrow pit ordinances on the council agenda, one authored by Councilchair Byron Marinovich and one authored by District 6 Councilman Burghart Turner.
Marinovich says that although he would like to see backfilling done by every borrow pit operator, there is a compromise in his legislation that would exempt those who sell their dirt for in-parish levee work. Pits that utilize dirt for private levees must be backfilled.
Reasoning for the importance of a compromise is outlined in the language of the ordinance: “There is a balance to be reached between the need for such local fill materials and the need to assure that Borrow Pits are safely operated and maintained.”
Since there is a funding gap on the Corps’ federal levee projects, officials predict money will run out before all projects on their list can be completed.
Therefore, in order to bring the total cost of the projects down, in-parish borrow material for the levees is one of the best ways to get the most work done at the lowest price. Transportation costs are one of the biggest contributing factors to dirt costs— the closer to the project site, the more reasonable the price-tag.
Councilman Turner has said at previous PPC meetings that borrow pit operators’ refusal to backfill is greed, and as the governing body, the PPC should not protect greed. Therefore, his legislation makes no such compromises for borrowpit operators and states that no permit will be granted to applicants who do not intend to backfill.
Both ordinances are up for discussion and possible vote at the August 21 PPC meeting.