WRKF

Travis Lux

Contributing Reporter

Travis Lux primarily contributes science and health stories to Louisiana's Lab. He studied anthropology and sociology at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, and picked up his first microphone at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, MA. In his spare time he loves to cook -- especially soups and casseroles. 

The Bayou Bridge Pipeline faces another legal challenge from landowners opposed to construction. Judge Keith Comeaux will hold a pre-trial hearing in St. Marin Parish on Friday, November 16th, at which lawyers for the landowners hope the pipeline could be stopped on constitutional grounds.

The case has to do with a 38 acre parcel of land in the Atchafalaya Basin.

A former North Dakota lawmaker recently died after eating at a New Orleans restaurant. The alleged culprit: a bacterial infection from a raw oyster. Oysters have long been a trademark of southern cuisine, but they also pose health risks for some. So, just how dangerous is it to eat raw oysters?

The goal of the 2016 Paris Climate agreement is to limit global warming to less than two degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. While President Trump has announced his intentions to pull out of the agreement, other nations, cities, and researchers are still working toward that goal.

This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report showing what will happen if the earth warms more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (we’re already at about 1°C). The outlook is dire.

For this week’s coastal news roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with one of the report’s authors, Bill Solecki, professor of Geography at Hunter College in New York.

On Wednesday, congress passed America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which could encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to build more green infrastructure.

Infrastructure bills are fairly routine. Generally passed every couple years, they often approve lists of projects for things like river dredging or levees -- projects that the Corps builds.

New this year: a section that requires the Corps to consider “natural or nature-based” projects as alternatives if it wants to build something.

Louisiana shrimpers are facing low prices. They say the business is tougher than it’s ever been, and recently considered striking. Many are looking for creative ways to make more money.

 

After a high-profile campaign to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, a number of states moved to make it harder to protest oil and gas projects. Now in Louisiana, the first felony arrests of protesters could be a test case of these tougher laws as opponents vow a legal challenge.

Every summer, a dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area with so little oxygen that marine life can’t survive, caused mostly by agricultural fertilizers that wash down the Mississippi River.

 

According to a new study from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), it’s much smaller this year. But, that might not necessarily be a sign of progress.

The Army Corps of Engineers has a system for classifying river and hurricane levees across the country. On Thursday, officials announced the final classifications for Southeast Louisiana. From Baton Rouge to New Orleans levee systems are considered “Moderate to High Risk.”

Though that may sound concerning, the Army Corps stresses that these classifications are not safety ratings. New Orleans District commander Colonel Mike Clancy says the levees themselves are in good shape.

One group of forecasters has decreased its 2018 hurricane season forecast from above-average to below-average.

There are typically about 12 named storms in the Atlantic during hurricane season.

Over the past century, Louisiana has lost more than 2,000 square miles of coastline, leaving it more vulnerable to storms, flooding and sea level rise. State officials have been fighting back, building levees, artificial marshes and barrier islands. Now they want to harness the muddy Mississippi River, diverting its sediment-rich waters into shrinking marshes and wetlands.

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