Council denies Borrow Pit MoratoriumOct 21st, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: news
Over the past few years, borrow pits in Plaquemines Parish have become bottomless pits of controversy. This controversy continues as the Council failed a Borrow Pit Moratorium ordinance 3-4 at its last meeting; this would have put a moratorium on any new borrow pit permits. The failed move stems from an Army Corps of Engineers statement saying that Plaquemines Parish may have enough borrow material.
One of the causes for concern is an ordinance on the books stating that borrow pit companies who sell their excavated dirt for the purpose of in-parish work, do not have to backfill their pits.
Residents, such as Warren Lawrence of Myrtle Grove, claim that these pits are not only hazardous, but at this point, also unnecessary.
In a phone interview after the meeting, the Army Corps of Engineer’s project manager, Nicole Harris, stated that they do in fact have enough material to complete federal levee projects within the Parish. However, Plaquemines still needs to determine whether or not it has enough material.
“We [Army Corps] have approved enough material to fulfill all of our construction requirements,” said Harris. “We have approved approximately 49,842 cubic yards of material.”
Councilman Burghart Turner, District 6, agreed with Lawrence’s accusation.
“There is evidence that we already have enough dirt,” said Turner. “We need to evaluate whether or not this is true. We may have more unnecessary holes if we don’t do this moratorium.”
“Why don’t we just keep the moratorium,” said Eddie Derwin,”and lift it when we need more dirt.”
Turner wished to halt the digging of any borrow pits until this problem is resolved. He wants to ensure the “It’s time we stop putting businesses over people,” said Turner.
However, not everyone shared Turner’s opinions. Councilman Stuart Guey, District 4, spoke-up to oppose the moratorium.
He expressed that competition will always be around, and trying to stop it by enacting a moratorium is just not right. Guey, a dentist, gave this example:
“What if another dentist wants to come to Belle Chasse—we have four already—I don’t want the competition, so let’s put a moratorium on dentists.”
Guey said that the moratorium is not fair to those who are following the laws and defiantly opposed the ordinance on the table.
“I won’t be asking for a moratorium on dentists,” said Guey, “and I won’t be asking this Council to put a moratorium on borrow pits.”