Pipeline protests are illegal and dangerous

Although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed the Army Corps of Engineers’ review of Bayou Bridge, protests have continued at construction sites along the project route. These demonstrations don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon, as opposition groups continue to stage increasingly theatrical ways of disrupting construction.

Many of these protesting tactics are not only illegal but also dangerous. Activists have blocked access roads, attached themselves to construction equipment and climbed up trees blocking the pipeline route, refusing to come down. Local law enforcement have done an excellent job responding to these recent challenges, working proactively to ensure the safety of both workers and protesters. Our safety forces have been key to establishing a secure work area for construction workers, having diligently responded to difficult situations at all hours of the day, rain or shine.

Louisianians for Energy thanks law enforcement and local officials who have worked tirelessly to keep the people of Louisiana safe – especially its workers in the energy industry. Projects like Bayou Bridge greatly contribute to local economies, from job growth to millions of dollars in tax revenue that can benefit municipal services, like our first responders. We look forward to the safe completion of Bayou Bridge and the great benefits it will bring to our state.

 

Randy Hayden

President, Louisianians for Energy

 

Public housing is going smoke-free

On July 31, 2018, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development will begin implementing its smoke-free public housing rule across the nation, including Louisiana. This means that people who live in public housing will no longer be allowed to smoke in their apartments or on the grounds of their housing complexes.

It is important to understand that HUD does not believe that these policies violate residents’ privacy rights and do not discriminate against residents who smoke. After many years of consideration, HUD has finally decided to get serious about the hazards of second-hand smoke, especially for young children, and third-hand smoke, which is the toxic nicotine residue and chemicals that stick to indoor surfaces like walls, carpeting and upholstery. HUD hopes that the efforts will help save taxpayers money caused by the damage, cleaning, insurance and liability issues that are attached to allowing smoking to continue in public housing units for which HUD is responsible.

While smoking rates among U.S. adults and teens continue to drop, nearly a quarter (21.9 percent) of Louisiana’s residents continue to smoke, even though evidence clearly shows that smoking is not only bad for their physical health (lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, chromosome damage and more), but for their wallets as well (average cost for a pack of cigarettes in Louisiana is $5.44 or $1,986 over a year).

The Smoking Cessation Trust strongly encourages all residents of Louisiana public housing to take this opportunity to quit smoking. While there are cessation programs other than the Smoking Cessation Trust available across our state, the Trust’s program is available only to help eligible, current Louisiana residents who smoked a cigarette prior to Sept. 1, 1988. Help is available at SmokeFreeLA.org or by calling 504-529-5665 or toll free at: 855-259-6346.

 

Mike Rogers

CEO, Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services

New Orleans