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Larry J. Morgan, a New Orleans resident who opposes Entergy's gas plant, holds up an American flag after he speaks to the city council at the Feb. 21 meeting. Julie Dermansky for DeSmog

By Julie Dermansky

On February 21, the New Orleans City Council unanimously voted to uphold approval of Entergy's proposed natural gas power plant, which faces a growing number of lawsuits, and passed a resolution to impose a $5 million fine on the company for its role in a paid-actors scandal.

Before the vote, in nearly three hours of often emotional testimony mostly against the plant, many contended that the $5 million fine was not a sufficient punishment. This was in light of the council's commissioned investigation, which concluded the company "knew or should have known" that a subcontractor was paying actors to support its proposed power plant at council meetings.

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The Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia on Oct. 8, 2016. Alex Ostrovski / CC BY-SA 4.0

By James R. Elliott and Scott Frickel

Philadelphia's hip Northern Liberties community is an old working-class neighborhood that has become a model of trendy urban-chic redevelopment. Crowded with renovated row houses, bistros and boutique shops, the area is knit together by a pedestrian mall and a 2-acre community garden, park and playground space called Liberty Lands.

First-time visitors are unlikely to realize they're standing atop a reclaimed Superfund site once occupied by Burk Brothers Tannery, a large plant that employed hundreds of workers between 1855 and 1962. And even longtime residents may not know that the 1.5 square miles of densely settled land around the park contains the highest density of former manufacturing sites in Philadelphia.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New Orleans City Hall. Bart Everson / Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

Local actors were paid to appear at New Orleans city council meetings to show support for a gas-fired power plant, according to a new report.

Investigative news site The Lens spoke to three actors who say they were paid $60—with $200 given for a speaking role—to attend a public hearing in October to show support for Entergy's power plant proposal, which was approved in March.

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