Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local Newscast
Hear the latest from the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom.

Land of Confusion: Schools on Dumpsites

It would seem logical: don’t build schools on dump sites.

“We have no law in Louisiana. Other states have it. This simply protects our children when someone proposes to build a school on a piece of land that is formerly used to dump stuff.”

But for two years in a row, New Orleans Representative Joseph Bouie has been unable to get such a law passed. Why? Because of what might happen with the Recovery School District’s rebuilding of Booker T. Washington School.

“The Booker T. Washington facility was originally constructed in the late 1930s on top of what was the Silver City disposal area, which accepted household waste and construction debris,” Ron Bordelon with the Recovery School District explained to House committee members last spring.

“The Recovery School District has spent over $6-million thus far with regard to environmental cleanup,” he said, and went on to warn the proposed law could have financial consequences for the RSD.

“The broad ‘commercial waste site’ language may capture this site, even though it’s been nearly 80 years since it received any debris and had been excavated many times throughout its history.”

“Are you saying that your fear is not based on any fear that the project has not met the remediation standards, but that it would be based on the interpretation of the language?” Houma Representative Beryl Amedee asked.

Speaker Pro-Tem Walt Leger remarked, somewhat sarcastically, “Because, you know, when you have the law, then you’re going to have a bunch of lawyers picking the law apart and trying to move the words around. You know how we are.”

The bill was referred to another committee, which was not scheduled to meet again before the end of the legislative session – effectively killing it.

As for “how we are”…Louisiana ranks 11th worst in the nation for overall pollution. Throughout this week we’ll be looking into the reasons why we aren’t more concerned about protecting our state’s air, water, land and people.