During the July 18, 2018 edition of his live monthly radio show, Governor John Bel Edwards claimed that he has spoken multiple times with St. James Parish officials, and that none of them expressed concern about the lack of an evacuation route and emergency response plan for the residents of St. James’ 5th District.

In fact, Governor Edwards has repeatedly refused to meet with Councilman Clyde Cooper, the elected official who represents 5th District residents. He also also failed to respond to repeated meeting requests from the residents themselves.

On Wednesday, Councilman Cooper published an op-ed in the New Orleans Times-Picayune to inform the public about the existential danger that St. James 5th District residents currently face in the event of an emergency. His op-ed demands that the Governor come to St. James and meet with himself and 5th District residents to learn about their plight.

Take action: Call Governor Edwards and demand that he meet personally with members of the H.E.L.P. Association and Councilperson Clyde Cooper in St. James’ 5th District.

In May, Louisiana district court judge Alvin Turner Jr. ruled that a key permit for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline was issued illegally by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR), and that construction must halt until an evacuation route and plan for the community were in place. Despite the judge’s order, LDNR has refused to  LDNR is ultimately overseen by Governor John Bel Edwards – meaning that he is responsible for this injustice.

Judge Turner’s decision acknowledges the unjust environmental burden already plaguing residents in St. James, and requires LDNR and Bayou Bridge to evaluate the impact of a potential spill on the community. His judgment affirms what members of the 5th District of St. James know far too well – there is already a crisis of public safety and public health in vulnerable communities like St. James, and the agencies charged with protecting us and our environment have been failing in their duties to protect the public good for a long time.

St. James residents have been demanding for over a year that Gov. Edwards meet with them in their community and learn in person about their urgent need for a comprehensive evacuation plan and route. Gov. Edwards’ refusal to do so represents a clear failure of moral leadership and absence of care for some of his most vulnerable constituents.

When you are connected, please give them your name and zip code. Then follow your own version of this general script:

“I read the op-ed in the Times-Picayune by St. James Parish Councilperson Clyde Cooper and am concerned about 5th District residents’ lack of an evacuation route and emergency response plan. Will the Governor respond to Councilperson Cooper’s demand and meet personally with members of the H.E.L.P. Association and 5th District Councilperson Clyde Cooper in Freetown, St. James?”