PHOTOS: Pollution from flooded coal export terminal in Louisiana
by Joe Smyth
September 6, 2012
[caption id="attachment_10013" align="alignnone" width="520" caption="The Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana is flooded after Hurricane Isaac, polluting the surrounding environment for miles. September 5, 2012"][/caption]
In addition tooil washing up on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Isaac is exacerbating other fossil fuel industryimpacts to the environment and communities along the Gulf Coast. Thecoal export terminal owned by Kinder Morgan on the Mississippi Riverin Southern Louisiana was flooded by Hurricane Isaac's torrential rains, which has left coal sludge and polluted water in the environment for miles around the facility.
[caption id="attachment_10014" align="alignnone" width="520" caption="Cattle stand in and drink from a ditch blackened by coal pollution from the Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana, September 5, 2012"][/caption]
The flooded out coal terminal is a complete environmental disaster. The flood waters at this facility are inundated with coal and the sand barriers that the company built in a futile attempt to contain those waters failed, drastically. To make matters worse, the company is pumping the coal mixed water out of the facility directly into the surrounding landscape, river, and wetlands. For miles in each direction away from the terminal, there is a thick dark coating of coal on everything, including the community of Ironton. Cows can be seen drinking coal runoff. Birds can be seen searching for food in coal filled ditches. Active pumps can be seen displacing the flood waters from the grounds of the facility and into the surrounding environment.
[caption id="attachment_10015" align="alignnone" width="520" caption="Flood water at the Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana is pumped into the environment outside the facility, September 5, 2012"][/caption]
I was struck by this facility two years ago when I saw it and wrote aboutoil and coal on the Mississippi Delta. Exporting US coal to foreign markets is one of many devastating impacts of the fossil fuel industry on coastal Louisiana, and Hurricane Isaac ishighlighting the Gulf of Mexicos unfortunate position as Americas Energy Sacrifice Zone.
[caption id="attachment_10017" align="alignnone" width="520" caption="Flood waters from Hurricane Issac are visible on the grounds of the Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana, September 5, 2012"][/caption]
Kinder Morgan has a long history ofpollution, lawbreaking, and cover-ups, and this isyet another reminder of the inevitable impacts to communities of coal export terminals, as Kinder Morgan and other companies seek to build new coal export facilities in the Gulf Coast, and open up new routes to foreign markets through the Pacific Northwest.