RUSTON - Local
legislators are targeting Lincoln Parish as an ideal location for a
new reservoir, but some environmental organizations and citizen
groups in other parishes are coming out in opposition to the six
current reservoirs projects ongoing in the state.
Louisiana chapter of the Sierra Club is urging Gov. Kathleen Blanco
not to fund any new manmade lakes and dams in the state until a
comprehensive study is done for the state's water
Sierra Club Vice Chairwoman Leslie March said more
information is needed before spending the state's valuable funds on
a "poorly planned system of reservoirs" that could harm the delicate
balance of the ecosystem.
"In the long term, damming for
lakes makes the water colder and is not a proper habitat for
existing fish. The pooled water increases mercury levels, too,"
Reservoir and governmental consultant Mike
Thompson of Delhi is heading up reservoir plans for Washington,
Allen and possibly Lincoln parishes. With potable water becoming
more in demand along the Sparta Aquifer and throughout the state,
he said the need for potable water trumps the concerns of
"The Sierra Club and I are in complete
opposition on their theory. I believe it's most important for people
to have clean water to drink," Thompson said. "I believe in
preservation, but we have to live in these times."
the stance of the Sierra Club is "typical" and pointed out that
stringent environmental studies are completed before any reservoirs
are built. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also examines
environmental effects and has the final say.
environmental damage created requires mitigation efforts and,
although he admits the process isn't perfect, the water and economic
development benefits outweigh other concerns.
While in Ruston
last week, Blanco said reservoir projects have shown their worth at
places like Poverty Point in Delhi. But Blanco said correct
scientific data is essential and she will consider studying the
ramifications of the projects.
Some local officials like
Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth and Sparta Groundwater Commission
Chairman Richard Durrett have said the need for a water pipeline to
Lake D'Arbonne is more important than a reservoir now, but Rep.
Hollis Downs, R-Ruston, and Sen. Bob Kostelka said they intend to
push for funds for a Lincoln reservoir in 2005.
he favors pursuing both projects simultaneously and said a new lake
will enhance the environment instead of harm it.
"It's a loss
to me how an environmental organization can oppose a lake," he said.
"We need water and it will increase recreational opportunities and