Skip to comments.As Louisiana's coast washes away, state cashing in on disputed oil and gas rights
Posted on 05/31/2018 2:37:30 PM PDT by BBell
"Louisiana loses a football field of land every 100 minutes." While that phrase has helped bring awareness to the ongoing problem of coastal wetland loss, it's not the state of Louisiana that is really losing land.
It is private landowners, companies and individuals, that have lost more than 2,000 square miles of coastal marsh over the past century. That process is financially benefiting the state under an old law that grants the state government the rights to oil and gas deep below navigable waters, including coastlines where erosion has converted land to water.
The more land private landowners lose to erosion, the more open water the state can claim to pursue the rights to the minerals underneath. The alarming rate at which the coast is eroding means that the state is able to capitalize on one of its greatest threats. In the process, it's netting hundreds of millions of dollars in mineral royalty payments a year, records show.
Critics argue the state has avoided establishing a clear policy on who owns the mineral rights to coastal waters, leading to costly restoration project modifications and construction delays. It's also created headaches for fishers who don't know where they can legally drive a boat.
The cautionary tale
This is what happened to the Thibodeaux family's land along Vermilion Bay, south of Lafayette. The family filed a lawsuit against the state after they found out it had claimed the mineral rights to an eroded piece of their property in 2012, when the family received their first royalty payment for an oil well. The payment indicated that 40-acres of their 250-acre mineral lease along the bay was going to the state, said Warren Perrin, one of the family's attorneys.
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
This law has been around for a very long time, nothing new. Once the area becomes navigatable water, ownership transfers. Now, could they have done something to protect their land?
“Louisiana loses a football field of land every 100 minutes.”
Is this even correct?
If oil is causing this, what caused the continental shift?
The cause of all this is the flood control measures along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Without the levees and the many other attempts to control the Big Muddy, New Orleans would be a landlocked city and the waters of the Mississippi would be flowing down the Atchafalaya River. Without the levees, these rivers would flood most years depositing sediment that would cause the marshes to be rejuvenated and sold land would also grow.
All of the sediment that would protect and grow the marshes and the solid land now flow all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving enough between the levees to require constant dredging to keep a navigable channel up to Baton Rouge.
So, dis problem is not jus Thibodeaux, but son ami Boudreaux done got da same ole problem. So what dey gonna do?
The berming of the Mississippi caused this. The river and all the silt it carries has been channelled out into the Gulf. The natural sedimentation process has been artificially altered.
Yea. The corp of engineers is not too popular here.
From an article posted back in 2011...
He also wishes people would say “wetlands” rather than “land.” His report was about
marshes and swamps, not the firm, dry stuff that some people might imagine is breaking
apart and falling into the ocean, one football field at a time.
Well, it would take an extreme sort of idiot to say “wetlands” because if the natural sedimentation process had not been altered the land in question would have been largely dry by now as the coast expanded.
Sometimes a plan which relies upon the public to become ever greator dupes doesn’t work out. This, and “Anthropogenic Global Warming” are two of those times.
Mark Twain said it best....
A humorous treatment of the rigid uniformitarian view came from Mark Twain. Although the shortening of the Mississippi River he referred to was the result of engineering projects eliminating many of the bends in the river, it is a thought-provoking spoof:
The Mississippi between Cairo and New Orleans was twelve hundred and fifteen miles long one hundred and seventy-six years ago. . . . Its length is only nine hundred and seventy-three miles at present.
Now, if I wanted to be one of those ponderous scientific people, and let on to prove what had occurred in the remote past by what had occurred in a given time in the recent past . . . what an opportunity is here!
Geology never had such a chance, nor such exact data to argue from! . . .
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod.
And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long. . . . There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
One of the issues is that to drill all the wells back in the marshes, the oil companies would dredge channels back to the location so that a barge rig could be used to drill the well. It is too swampy for a conventional land- based rig. These channels allow salt water to encroach into the swamp and it kills the marsh. Without the vegetation, the silt washes away.
Just let me know when the land around Cafe du Monde washes away. I’d love to claim the store that makes those great bignets
if the natural sedimentation process had not been altered the land
in question would have been largely dry by now as the coast expanded.
Yep they put dams on the Mississippi and others thus changing the course of nature.
Lots of that land upstream would now be coastline but natures process was changed.
The following is an article from back in 2014 that discusses some of the changes and impact.
The Mississippi River Is A Land-Making Machine: Dredgefest 2014
The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MrGo) did the same thing. It let in seawater which ruined the wetlands surrounding it.
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