Norwood: Battery plant plans would harm North Pass

Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 6, 2018

For the last two weeks, I have written about one of the most important things in St. John the Baptist and Tangipahoa parishes, our Louisiana swamp and wetlands.

After receiving an overwhelming response to these articles, I wanted to write one last article and address a few more issues on the proposal to build a battery plant in Manchac on North Pass.

After a lot of research and reading several other great articles, there is no doubt that this plant would destroy our way of life in our parish.

There would be no more fishing, swimming, boating and all the camp owners would sell and get out.

If you did not get a chance to read the Hammond Daily Star article on Dec. 21 written by Jim Anderson, you might want to get a copy.

After you read this article, you will understand why we can’t allow this plant to build in Tangipahoa Parish.

The Manchac Port Commission board members also have plans to allow this plant to expand at a later date, so instead of the 41,000 gallons of waste that will be emptied into North Pass, there’s no telling how much more it would be.

The Dec. 19 meeting at Ponchatoula City Hall was a standing room only crowd and all in attendance spoke against this project that will destroy our swamp and waterways.

The Port Commission board members are appointed, and if they follow through with this battery plant project after all the opposition, they should be forced to resign.

Another very important issue that has been brought to my attention is the fact that the area around the Manchac port is the Joyce Wildlife Management Area.

This area is a game reserve and protected under state and, possibly, federal regulations, and it would also be destroyed by the contaminated discharge water.

Should we get a court injunction to stop the Board from moving forward on the battery plant or any other business before the public has input on matter?

I also believe that it is time for all elected officials to come forward and let the public know how they feel about this project. If they don’t then it is probably safe to assume that they are in favor of this project and against the public.

They chose the Port Manchac location to give them room for future expansion.

At 8 percent salt, they will dump 27,000 lbs. of salt per day into North Pass, which flows into Lake Maurepas when tides and/or winds are right. The salinity of Lake Maurepas varies from zero to 0.3 percent.

It is fresh water to slightly brackish.  Salt water intrusion is a killer of vegetation in the Manchac Swamp.

The Port Commissioners must be stopped from allowing this polluting process to be installed at North Pass!

The next meeting is scheduled at noon Jan. 9 at the Ponchatoula City Hall.

Hopefully this project will be canceled and we can continue to enjoy our swamps and wetlands for many more years with our grandchildren.

Wayne Norwood can be reached by calling Louisiana Treasures Museum at 225-294-8352.