Coastal restoration team includes Montana toxic waste dumpers
THIBODAUX, La. (CN) — Two men accused of illegal waste dumping in Montana are now among Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry's selections announced Wednesday for a bipartisan group tasked with battling the dire threat of erosion along Louisiana’s coast.
Landry — appearing before a large crowd at Nicholls State University Wednesday — named four new leaders for Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, including Tony Alford and former Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove to head coastal restoration and levee projects statewide.
Dove served 8 years as Terrebonne Parish president and before then for 12 years as state representative, including as chairman of Natural Resources on the board of the restoration authority.
Dove and Alford, the now-appointed chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, have been embroiled for years in ongoing lawsuits in Montana claiming the men operated illegal petroleum waste dumps more than a decade ago in the Big Sky state.
Both Dove and Alford are named as defendants in lawsuits from Montana that say Dual Trucking — a Houma-based fracking company co-owned by Alford and that Dove was reportedly once a partner in — contaminated various parcels of land with toxic waste and chemicals from drilling and fracking more than a decade ago, according to December 2023 article from Verite News.
According to Verite News, both Dove and Alford were listed as owners of Dual Transportation when it was initially cited by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality in 2012, though Dove later left the business.
The two lawsuits, one brought by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality in 2015 and another, filed by landowners in 2020, say that at least some of the oilfield waste came from the Bakken area in North Dakota. The company handled various types of chemicals at its Bainville, Montana site, including some that are carcinogenic.
“Alford being appointed to help guide Governor-Elect Landry’s transition council on Coast & Environment, despite being the owner of a company with a record of illegally disposing of toxic waste without permits in environmentally sensitive areas, is disappointing but not surprising,” Jackson Voss, the climate policy coordinator for the Alliance for Affordable Energy, a New Orleans group that advocates for affordable and environmentally responsible energy, told Verite News.
Landry — who held up signs saying “Drilling = jobs” after the Obama administration imposed a moratorium on drilling during the 2010 oil spill — also outlined a plan for his administration Wednesday to ensure that “Louisiana has one of the most robust oil and gas industries” in the country.
The Republican governor reminded the audience at Wednesday's conference that at one time oil and gas was booming in Louisiana, but the industry has since moved much of its workforce to Texas.
“We want that capacity back here in Louisiana because it brings in good jobs, jobs that will benefit our middle class,” Landry said.
Landry noted that the men he appointed to the coastal council will have dual jobs under his governance: to rebuild the coast, and to bring back oil and gas, by which the governor intends to create a strong middle class.
Currently, Louisiana loses roughly a basketball court worth of land every five minutes.
“It’s your job to help us make sure we protect this coast,” Landry told his appointees and the audience Wednesday. “We look forward to getting started because we have a lot to do.”
Landry also announced his appointment of environmental engineer Glenn Ledet Jr. as executive director of the restoration authority, Ben Bienvenu as commissioner of conservation, and Dustin Davidson as chief of staff for the Department of Natural Resources.