St. James looks at environmental consulting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

By Monique Roth

CONVENT – At the most recent meeting of the St. James Parish Council, members heard from a representative of an environmental consulting firm that may soon be employed by the parish.

At the Feb. 5 meeting Bliss Higgins of ENVIRON International Corp. presented information about her company to the council regarding Parish President Timmy Roussel’s desire to contract with ENVIRON to serve as a special counsel to the parish.

Higgins, who has worked with ENVIRON for the past 12 years and also has a 12 year work history with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, spoke to the council about her company and the perceived role it would play in St. James Parish.

Higgins said she envisions a working relationship with the parish in which she would be called upon when the parish had questions about the possible environmental impacts that certain proposed industries could have on the area.

Roussel made it clear at a past council meeting that he was not in favor of keeping a company on retainer and paying for services that they may not use. Instead, ENVIRON would be paid an hourly rate for services received.

The council will decide on the matter at a later date.

In another matter, both Marti Lucore and Travis Creel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District presented a recap of information regarding the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction Study.

In August 2013 the agency announced Alternative C was going to be the tentatively selected plan. This alternative includes a levee from the Bonnet Carré Spillway to Hope Canal to the Mississippi River, as well as non-structural risk reduction in St. James Parish. The alternative will avoid some

oil and gas pipelines and will include

non-structural features such as elevating some homes and

commercial buildings that are outside of the proposed levee. Alignment C was estimated to be the most inexpensive option of the three, with its pipeline avoidance strategies.

Creel said the timeline of events for the project will include a Civil Works Review Board final recommendation in June 2014 and that by the end of the year the report should go to Congress.

In personnel matters, Katherine Robichaux was appointed to serve as the District 3 representative, and Lorraine Oubre was appointed as the District 5 representative for the Keep St. James Beautiful Board. Additionally, Holly Haase was appointed as the District 3 representative on the St. James Parish Library Board and Shirley Brooks Albert was authorized to fill the vacancy of District 4 justice of the peace.