- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:


April 24

The Town Talk on responsibility for pollution:

In sports, fans of top-ranked teams will sometimes be accused of trash talking. Today we’re going to do some trash talking of our own based on a high rating, but it’s not in a proud way.

Just in time for Earth Day, which was celebrated Sunday, Louisiana ranked 5th overall in the nation in a recent survey of the “most polluted” states. Texas, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania took the top four spots. Nevada, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma rounded out the top 10.

The “most polluted” rankings are based on evaluated indicators from government, nonprofit and private sources, including observations by citizens, deaths from collisions with rubbish, “profiled litterer” population percentages, effectiveness of litter abatement spending, public entity corruption rankings and discernible maintenance by employees, contractors and volunteers.

Pollution results vary in Central Louisiana. On the one end you have communities like Pineville that routinely earn recognition in the annual Cleanest Cities contest. On the other end of the spectrum, Grant Parish recently created a traveling garbage display to help residents realize just how much trash is being tossed out in their community.

Recent Gallup Polls have found a majority of Americans have a “great deal of concern” about toxic pollutants lingering at water and landed areas managed by states and localities. We have seen those government-regulated environmental concerns grow locally, most notably regarding the Clean Harbors open-burn facility in Grant Parish where expired and surplus explosive materials are destroyed.

The most visible sources of litter are the fast-food wrappers and plastic drink bottles that dot our roadways. But it’s not uncommon to find larger items along local roadways, from full trash bags to chunks of truck tires to furniture items that have fallen from vehicles.

Littering damages landscapes, breeds diseases, causes injuries and deaths to animals and humans. You may be surprised to learn more than 800 Americans die every year from vehicle crashes with ordinary litter like the aforementioned tire chunks and furniture items. Even coolers or other unsecured loads falling from trucks and trailers can appear out of nowhere in front of a driver and cause a fatal crash.

We’re somewhat more fortunate in Rapides Parish than other areas as inmate crews routinely work local roadways picking up trash and a number of communities have made maintaining a clean community a priority.

We’re grateful to those who are working to keep Central Louisiana clean, and we encourage all residents to do their part to lessen the workload. Rather than carelessly tossing trash from the car, please wait and throw it out when you reach your destination. If you have a pickup truck or open trailer, please take the time to secure any loose items so they don’t blow out while you are driving.

It’s nothing more than using some common sense and common courtesy to be a good - and clean - member of the community.

Online: https://www.thetowntalk.com


April 25

The Advocate cheers the announcement of a petrochemical plant:

The numbers really are staggering: $9.4 billion in direct foreign investment, 1,200 permanent jobs, 8,000 construction jobs at its peak.

The announcement of the petrochemical plant in St. James Parish just south of the Sunshine Bridge is a huge win for the community but also for the state as a whole.

Sunshine, indeed.

The company bought 2,400 acres for the site and anticipates that construction - lasting over a decade - could begin as soon as next year.

Because of the size of Formosa’s investment and the number of jobs the plant will create, it will “fundamentally alter the economy and the wealth of the River Region,” said Michael Hecht, president and chief executive officer of Greater New Orleans Inc., the regional economic development agency.

“This is a big one,” he said.

We congratulate Gov. John Bel Edwards, GNO Inc. and the state’s economic developers for this success. We note that this has been a long time in the works, beginning in the administration of former Gov. Bobby Jindal and continuing into today. There’s a lot of credit to go around.

Louisiana’s banks of the Mississippi are among the world’s great concentrations of petrochemical refining and manufacturing. Our state is home to a network of pipelines and railroad connections and also a direct source of natural gas, cheap and plentiful, to fuel such a major plant.

An economic impact study done by LSU economist James Richardson forecast the 10-year construction period will yield $362 million in new state and local tax receipts, plus $313 million in new state and local taxes during the initial 10 years of operation, beginning in 2025. The project will take advantage of the state’ Industrial Tax Exemption Program. Although state and community leaders have not always been strategic in the tax breaks they grant to business, we’re heartened that tax policy here seems aimed at capital investments representing a long-term commitment to the region. And we’re hopeful that the environmental impacts of the project can be addressed in a way that balances progress and sound stewardship of land, air and water.

This is a long-term investment. It is one that we hope will not become embroiled in the pointless trade debate with China that has begun, but has not yet escalated, under President Donald Trump. However, steel tariffs - and a $9 billion plant uses a lot of steel - can be an additional cost for the company.

Even the president cannot object to the Formosa plant: The company is not from the mainland Communist-ruled China but the independent and democratic Republic of China on Taiwan. The island was formerly named Formosa; its namesake company already has been an investor and contributor to Louisiana’s economy since 1981 with facilities in Baton Rouge and in Pointe Coupee Parish.

This is, as Eric Smith of Tulane’s Energy Institute said, a nice confirmation of Louisiana’s vitality in petrochemical manufacturing.

A very nice confirmation, we think, and one that is sweeter because our friends in Texas competed vigorously for the site selection.

Online: http://www.theadvocate.com


April 25

The Houma Courier on the New Orleans Pelicans:

The New Orleans Saints have held a place in local sports fans’ hearts for decades.

Often the lovable losers, they had enjoyed a few brief brushes with success over the years, but none of the good runs continued.

The past decade, though, has seen the fan base turn from steady, local and faithful to rabid and nationwide. That’s due in large part to the team’s recent success with coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees.

The New Orleans Pelicans are hoping they’ve tapped into a similar vein of success with All-Star forward Anthony Davis and a host of young stars around him.

Since his arrival last season as a free agent, center Demarcus Cousins has added fuel to the excitement surrounding the team.

Unfortunately, a misstep in the final seconds of a game back in January left Cousins with a torn Achilles tendon, unable to play the remainder of the season.

The team and its fans worried that their hopes for a playoffs appearance could be dashed. And the team went on a losing streak that saw it drop five of its next six games and looking increasingly unlikely to make the postseason.

But Davis and his healthy teammates then went on a 10-game winning streak and a strong finish to the season that propelled them into the playoffs.

Their playoff matchup was the Portland Trailblazers, who had split the season series with the Pelicans - with each team winning two of the four games.

The Blazers finished with the third seed in the West, the Pelicans the sixth. Most national observers assumed Portland would beat New Orleans handily.

They were wrong. The Pelicans won four straight games to sweep Portland out of the playoffs and await their Round 2 opponents. In fact, the Pelicans were the only team in the first round to sweep its opponent - an impressive feat for a team that just a few months ago seemed on the verge of collapse.

Their fans, meanwhile, remain hopeful that they can once again defy the odds, as they will likely face the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the second round.

But with the Pelicans riding the longest active winning streak in the NBA, anything is possible.

The Pelicans might never enjoy the kind of love the Saints have with their fan base. But they are doing everything they can to make local fans once again embrace the winning tradition in New Orleans - a feeling many haven’t felt since point guard Chris Paul was leading the team to multiple postseason appearances.

If nothing else, Davis and his team are helping south Louisiana fans through the long months that precede the football season. Let’s go, Pelicans!

Online: http://www.houmatoday.com/

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