Mayor Holden accuses Port of betraying Baton Rouge citizens

Mayor Holden accuses Port of betraying Baton Rouge citizens

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The heat over a controversial barge cleaning facility continues to rise as Mayor Holden sends a fiery letter about a recent comment from the Executive Director of the Port of Baton Rouge.

"This is outrageous and a total disrespect of the people of our community," said Mayor Holden in the letter. "You have made a decision relative to the quality of life for thousands for $120,000 a year. Why don't you throw in as a bonus 30 pieces of silver?"

The heart of the issue begins with the location. Texas-based Tubal-Cain Marine Resources wants to build the facility on a section of the Mississippi River near Brightside across from BREC's Farr Equestrian Park.

"There are just too many people who are out there, using that area, living out there to really justify any economic gain that the parish may get from having this business come into to Baton Rouge. We're putting people's lives at risk in doing so," said Councilman John Delgado in a prior interview.

Councilman Delgado and Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe hope to change the zoning of that area to prevent the site from being a viable possibility for the proposed facility.

In response, Port of Greater Baton Rouge Director Jay Hardman defended the facility. He told the Baton Rouge Business Report that the issue is "overblown."

Tuesday's letter from Mayor Holden's is directly related to that comment.

"You have refused to hear the outcry from people who could be impacted by this facility," wrote Holden. "Can you take the blinders off for a second and predict the economic impact if there is a leak that forces closure of the river to ship and barge traffic? How can you be so sure that this is being blown out of proportion when the consequences are not fully known?"

Too many unknowns is the reason why Mayor Holden requested a 30-day extension on a permit meeting that was set to happen today. The meeting is now set for August 18.

"The gifts of life, safety, peace and happiness are not negotiable," Mayor Holden concluded.

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