Russel Honoré, the retired Army lieutenant general turned activist, said he's working to get 10,000 people to show up at the State Capitol on March 8, two days before the regular session kicks off. The gathering is being called "The Louisiana Water Festival" and will help preview the package of environmental justice bills Honoré and his so-called "Green Army" will be pushing during the session.
"We're going through the application process now to use the grounds," he said. "But this is not about disobedience. This is about celebration and information. Water is the strength of our state and without clean, fresh water the whole of Louisiana becomes a different state and different culture. We've never had a problem with water, but now it's at an emergency status in some places."
Honoré said the Green Army package will probably come in at around eight bills that target aquifer regulations, with a focus on Baton Rouge and north Louisiana; the Assumption Parish sink hole; new procedures at the departments of natural resources and environmental quality; rolling back tax exemptions for fracking; and updated disclosure rules for certain industry donations.
Unexpectedly, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is being dragged into the debate as well as she prepares to stand for re-election this fall. According to The Times-Picayune, national environmental groups are starting to complain about the possibility of her becoming the next energy chair in the Senate, citing her close relationship with oil and gas. Back home in Louisiana, the Bucket Brigade is jumping on the bandwagon by stating Landrieu can improve her image by backing Honoré and his green agenda. Anne Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, said it would be "morally right" for her to do so.
This story first appeared in Issue 964 of LaPolitics Weekly on Jan. 9. If you wish you would have read it then, subscribe now!