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Louisiana Business: JIndal And Storm Grants; World Trade Seminars, Oil & Gas Law, French Week, Gulf Drilling
Written by  // Wednesday, 09 November 2011 16:25 //

JindalWorld Trade Seminar

The World Trade Center and the Small Business Administration are offering a special seminar on Wednesday, November 16, from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. that will answer many questions for anyone looking to grow his or her business through international trade. Sandro Murtas with the SBA's Export Solutions Group will discuss such topics as export fundamentals, determining your readiness to export, and how the SBA and World Trade Center can assist you. The cost of the seminar is $60 for WTCNO members and $80 for future members. Click here to register. 

 Jindal Announces Hurricane/Storm Protections Projects

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced an investment of $11.3 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for two major projects that will better protect Ascension, Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes from storms. Of the $11.3 million, $8.4 million will be invested in partnership with Lafourche Parish for the Cut Off/Pointe-aux-Chene Levee project and $2.9 million for renovations to the Bayou Lafourche-Walter S. Lemann Pump Station that brings fresh water from the Mississippi River into the bayou at Donaldsonville.

Cut Off/Pointe-aux-Chene Levee Project

The $8.4 million levee project in Lafourche Parish will enhance the levee system between Cut Off and Pointe-aux-Chenes, mainly in the area of the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area. Improvements will reduce storm surge impacts in the Lockport-Raceland vicinity, areas above the Larose-to-Golden Meadow system, and in parts of southern Terrebonne Parish.

Approximately 12,700 residents in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes will benefit from the project.  The project is being funded jointly through the parish and Coastal Protection Restoration Authority, combining $3 million in parish CDBG funding with $5.4 million in Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) CDBG funding. Engineering and design are expected to start by the end of the year.

These projects will begin to connect the Morganza-to-the-Gulf system to the Larose-to-Golden Meadow system and help reduce flood impacts to the Grand Bayou Management Area.  This investment begins to tie together the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane protection project to the Larose-to- Golden Meadow hurricane protection project, making this a regional hurricane protection system. The investment will complement the more than $250 million that’s been committed to the Morganza-to-the-Gulf projects and the $25 million committed to the Larose-to-Golden Meadow project.

This project will ultimately connect the Morganza-to-the-Gulf system to the Larose-to-Golden Meadow system and, in the interim, help reduce flood impacts to the Grand Bayou Management Area.

Walter S. Lemann Pump Station Project

The $2.9 million Walter S. Lemann Pump Station project in Donaldsonville will benefit hundreds of thousands residents, businesses and industries of the entire multi-parish area of the Bayou Lafourche waterway, including Ascension, Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. The two existing pumps are more than 50 years old and some of their components are beyond their life expectancy. Upgrading, restoring and replacing the pumps and adding a backup generator will allow the station to once again operate at its full original design capacity of 400 cubic feet per second - 180,000 gallons per minute - at all times. With this investment, these pumps will work to keep the bayou flushed out, keeping the drinking water supply fresh and safe, while also fighting salt water intrusion that impacts vegetation.  

This $2.9 million dollar project will complement the Bayou Lafourche dredging project which restored the capacity of the bayou to receive freshwater from this pump station. A first phase of that dredging project was recently completed from Donaldsonville to Belle Rose. It has restored the capacity of the channel to receive a significant portion of the original design flow 400 cubic feet per second without flooding the upper portions of the bayou.

CRPA previously committed over $40 million to dredging and restoring the capacity of Bayou Lafourche – once the largest distributaries of the Mississippi River.  A first phase of the dredging project was recently completed from Donaldsonville to Belle Rose. It restored the capacity of the channel to receive a significant portion of the original design flow. A $20 million project the Governor announced earlier this year using Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) funds will allow continued dredging to further increase the channel capacity of Bayou Lafourche, so the area can ultimately receive 450,000 gallons per minute from this and future investments.

Project planning for the pump station is currently underway. Construction is expected to start next summer. The project will be maintained and operated by the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District.

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French Week

The Consulate General of France in New Orleans along with local partners as the French American Chamber of Commerce - Gulf Coast Chapter, the Alliance Française of New Orleans and the Francophone Business Forum presents the first-ever Semaine Française (French Week).

Semaine Française is a multidisciplinary event which celebrates France Louisiana friendship involving culture, French language and economy. For the first time, Semaine Française will take place in New Orleans from Thursday November 17 through Sunday November 20, 2011.

His Excellency Mr. François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United-States will participate to this event for his first visit to Louisiana.

The partners will propose more than 20 events during 4 days including:

 - Economic topic: A Business Symposium with Energy, Coastal Restoration and Transportation seminars, the signature of a memorandum of agreement between Port of New Orleans and Port of Guadeloupe followed by a Summit Conference on the regional impact of Panama Canal expansion;

- Education topic: A French Education Fair about teaching of French (immersion and second language), a Round Table about French language in Louisiana and a networking cocktail with alumni of the Teaching Assistant Program in France;

- Cultural topic: A Gala Dinner with French Chef and Opera Créole, The Beaujolais Festival followed by a Beaujolais After Party, an exhibition of French Artists (painters and sculptors), a photo contest about French Lousiana and its exhibition, a French film, a concert of a French Trio, Culinary events with French Chef from Guadeloupe, French patrimonial tours of the French Quarter and “Semaine Française” Menus in several French restaurants of Greater New Orleans.

Hotel Monteleone And Saints

– As the New Orleans Saints play the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, the Hotel Monteleone is throwing a tailgating block party on the 200 block of Royal Street Sunday, November 13 from 9 a.m. ‘til. Proceeds from the event will benefit Louisiana service members and wounded warriors from Operation Homefront Louisiana during the holiday season.

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Gulf Permit Index

Today, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) and several partnering organizations released the twenty-second Gulf Permit Index (GPI) to the public. This edition, the second GPI+, includes data on 2011 plan approvals by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE), in addition to the information on deep- and shallow-water permit issuance included in all previous editions.

The GPI+ shows that the rates of issuance for new deep- and shallow-water well permits continue to lag historical averages. 

Deep-water permit issuance continues to lag the monthly average observed in the year prior to the oil spill. Only 5.0 deep-water permits are being issued per month since September 2011, representing a 0.8-permit — or a 14% — monthly reduction from the average of 5.8 permits per month. This number also represents a 2.0-permit — or a 29% — reduction from the historical average of 7.0 permits per month over the past three years. 

Shallow-water permit issuance is also below the historical average. Since September 2011, 7.0 shallow-water permits, on average, were issued. That number represents a decrease of 0.1 permits — or 1% — from the monthly average of 7.1 permits per month observed in the year prior to the oil spill. This number also represents a 7.7-permit — or a 52% — reduction from the historical average of 14.7 permits per month over the past three years. 

The GPI+ also shows a sharp increase in the average number of days taken to approve plans and a significant decrease in the percentage of plans being approved, compared with the number of plans submitted to BOEMRE. 

In 2011, the average approval time for a plan is 114 days, compared to the historical average of 61 days. All deep-water plans that include any type of drilling activity must now undergo an environmental assessment (EA) process; for those plans requiring EAs in 2011, the average approval time is 218 days, significantly higher than the overall average approval time. Additionally, in 2011, 36% of plans submitted to BOEMRE are being approved, compared to the historical 73.4% approval rate.

Oil And Gas Law Update

EPA Announces Release of Final Draft of Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan

by Keith Hall of Stone Pigman Law Firm

Late last week the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of a final draft of its hydraulic fracturing study plan.  The study, which EPA is performing at the request of Congress, will focus on potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. 

The EPA will collect and analyze samples from seven locations, and perform modeling based on its analyses.  The seven locations include two sites where the EPA will conduct "prospective case studies."  At the "prospective" sites, the EPA will take samples and evaluate conditions through the entire life cycle of a well, starting before the wellpad is constructed and drilling begins, through the drilling and fracturing processes, and afterward, when the well is put into production.  Groundwater samples from the area around each site will be analyzed for several substances, and samples of the flowback water also will be analyzed. 

The locations of the two "prospective" sites are  

  • DeSoto Parish, Louisiana (Haynesville Shale)  
  • Washington, County, Pennsylvania (Marcellus Shale). 

The operator of the well in DeSoto Parish will be Chesapeake, and the operator at the well in Washington County will be Range Resources. 

The EPA also will conduct five "retrospective case studies" to analyze alleged impacts of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater at five sites where wells already have been drilled and hydraulically fractured.  The five "retrospective" sites are

  • Killdeer and Dunn Counties, North Dakota (Bakken Shale) 
  • Wise and Denton Counties, Texas (Barnett Shale)  
  • Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, Pennsylvania (Marcellus Shale)  
  • Washington County, Pennsylvania (Marcellus Shale)  
  • Los Animas County, Colorado (Raton Basis coalbed).

The seven locations have different characteristics, and include a shale formation from which oil is produced (the Bakken Shale location in North Dakota), a site where coalbed methane is produced (the Raton Basin site in Colorado), and five sites where natural gas is produced from shale (the Haynesville, Barnett, and Marcellus Shale locations).

The EPA plans to issue a first report by the end of 2012 and an additional report in 2014.  The EPA also plans to provide quarterly updates on the progress of its study.  The EPA first announced its intent to perform the study in March 2011.  In addition to outlining the EPA's plans for its study, the final draft released last week has background information on drilling and the hydraulic fracturing process.

Visionary

Locally owned and operated, St. Charles Vision, will be hosting its annual two-day Trunk Show this December on the 7th  and 8th .  With a reputation for fashion forward frames, the popular eye care institute will be representing various top designers and high-end brands and offering discounted prices to both eyewear and eye exams.  

Frame vendors will be present at both locations from 10am to 8:00pm, on each day, with the 2012 collections. 

A 20% discount will be given, during two-day Trunk Show, on all represented brands (with lens purchase). 

The following brands will be included in the trunk show: Oliver Peoples, Paul Smith, Salt, Mykita, Anne et

Valentin, Seraphin, Tom Davies, Robert Marc, Prada, Bulgari, Judith Leiber, Italee, John Varvatos, and Face A Face.

The trunk show will be held at the Metairie and New Orleans offices only:

3200 Severn Avenue in Metairie, Louisiana 70002 – 504-887-2020

8040 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana 70118 – 504-866-6311

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