BEFORE AND OUTSIDE THE LITIGATIONS
This story will take you to a number of parishes, locations and courtrooms across this State. Quite a few of the individuals have passed on into their personal eternal reward but this story is not about any one person. All persons will be mentioned with dignity but the truth will be written. It is much more about a systemic "machine" that does not serve the general public but instead serves selected parties. People come and go but sytems remain. In fact, that is what allows "machines" to exist. They survive people.
It is also not about political parties. That is clear because this story will cross administrations of run by different parties. Additionally, oftentimes, individuals will change parties to what best fits them therefore political party affiliation changes when opportunity arises. This website will expose a political "machine" that bridges across parties and races and what will be exposed impacts the culture of the Louisiana people across the board. That "machine" has been drawn to Louisiana because of the great wealth of the minerals that were here but are decreasing greatly.
Some individuals take advantage of the power of the "machine" for their own personal advantage and others simply stay silent so that the system will not turn on them in retaliation and revenge. They do not want to become an example of what can happen when one bucks the system. Many unhappy attorneys tell me that there is no way they could do what this website is doing. They would be disciplined!
For attorneys, even when true, that "turning" on them would take the form of disciplinary action. When used to its fullest effect to discipline an attorney, it can be very damaging to their livelihood. Oftentimes, destroying their career. Having filed numerous complaints against lawyers and judges over the years, with no disciplinary action taken, I understand how useless that system can be for a non-attorney to use.
So many of these pages to be built will focus on actions that center around one piece of land located in St. Mary Parish, LA. That will be the hub from which the matrix will grow. We will start there in the Blanchard I Litigation and end there in the ongoing Blanchard V Litigation. The various pages will be built with information connected to other pages and ultimately the story will be able to be followed from page-to-page through links to documents, websites, etc. that can be used by visitors to support the narrative. The other locations will be tangential to St. Mary Parish but over time the connections will be clearly evidenced to return to St. Mary Parish.
So much of this particular story will be about what oil and gas companies will do to avoid full remediation of its environmental waste left on the surface, under the surface and in the water and its sediment across our State. Additionally, there is so much wealth in minerals that some will do extreme things to reap its benefits by production as well. Now that the flush production in our State is decreasing and has reached the economic threshhold of many operators (seriously began in the 1980's) and there is an attempt to leave the state without cleaning up the mess they made. As we know from BP's Deepwater Horizon underwater blowout in 2010, they have no conscience. Read about the Three Little Pigs idealogy.
Mercury from mercury meters is a great example of that. Once the harmful effects of mercury began to be understood by the oil companies, parties that understood the ramifications, rightly removed the mercury meters from the fields but wrongly chose not to remove the mercury underneath the meters. As in the Grefer case in Jefferson Parish, that dealt with NORM waste in Jefferson Parish, operators knew, but just let it remain on the ground to convert to harmful and invisible methyl mercury. Mercury from mercury meters is not NOW (non-hazadous oilfield waste)! There is a criminal side to letting mercury sit in old oil fields.
What may surprise most that take the time to read it all is how so many members of the State Bar and State regulatory agencies support this avoidance of the most basic of housekeeping requirements. This avoidance is likely to continue as long as oil and gas operators are willing to and capable of paying billable hours and/or supporting candidates who then choose State regulatory department heads that set State budgets far less than what is needd to fully remediate. If we, as a public, cannot have trust in the legal system and the regulatory systems that have been designed to protect us in that area (and other areas) who can we trust? If one cannot go to the courts for fair adjudication of serious matters such as this, where will one go? The author has tried to do that since 1986. The most latest actions in the Blanchard V Litigation has now driven the author to begin this narrative after all these years.
Although this is a new way to present certain facts the author's position has been publicly stated for years as evidenced by written testimony at a public hearing of the LA Senate Natural Resources Committee in 2006. Thanks to Senator Butch Gautreaux from Morgan City for getting this testimony before this committee in 2006 when it was considering the final form of Act 312. Within that written testimony there are two exhibits (Exhibit D and Exhibit E) that dealt with certain material words being removed from a written transcript of a specific court hearing. For more on that, click here. With those exhibits, within testimony before this legislative committee, one would believe someone from the legislative side would investigate this action within the court system and do something about it! Nothing was done! If it would have been addressed by people with the legal authority to do something about it, it is highly likely the court actions in the Blanchard III would have never happened.
Senator Bret Allain replaced Senator Gautreaux in 2012. A simple map check of the St. Mary Parish Assessor's Office will indicate that Allain Land Company, LLC adjoins the Blanchard property on its northerly side and Office of Conservation records will likely indicate that ARCO's operations impacted that land as well.
LOUISIANA - THE PELICAN STATE
St. Mary Parish, LA
THE AREA OF PRINCIPLE INTEREST
Park Plantation as viewed from railroad tracks southerly along Penn Road
Park Plantation is a tract of land that is located in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. It is between Baldwin and Jeanerette and fronts on the westerly side of Penn Road. As the Park Plantation linked aerial shows, it is sandwiched between Highway 182 and U.S. Highway 90 and southerly of a railroad track that runs in an east - west direction. At one time it was an operating sugarcane plantation but it no longer supports agronomic crops. Shallow pipelines were a problem when the author first saw that property in 1985 and therefore those shallow pipelines made it hard to farm safely. Many of those pipelines (or sections of them) were removed early on and/or over the years by various mineral operators. (We will get to the NORM issues behind that at a later time.)
It was the residence of Joe Blanchard and Betty Blanchard and Nancy Blanchard (Betty Blanchard's daughter), then later of John Connery (St. Mary Parish attorney and judge) and is now again the residence of Nancy Blanchard. In spite of its environmental issues, that have been argued about for over 30+ years, a large portion of the plantation appears to now be under a servitude actually paid for by the United States of America! (Your tax money at work! Maybe it would have been money better spent trying to ascertain the reason for the health issues on Four Corners, LA, the small rural community, written about below.)
This property has been the subject of numerous litigations but there was a point in time that pre-dated all the litigations. It was a quieter time but only because much information was being withheld from Betty Blanchard, who depended on others in such land matters.
Before and after Joe Blanchard died and Betty became his widow in 1961 she relied on the legal guidance of a law firm in Franklin. Betty Blanchard died on or about May 2, 2007, after many years of courtroom fighting to try and keep her land and minerals and get her property fully remediated from its environmental mess. She had tried for years prior to her death to remove ARCO (now BP) as the mineral operator from Park Plantation. (Her efforts to do that pre-dated the author's appearance in these matters in late 1985 and into 1986.) She was totally displeased with ARCO's production and remediation activites and tried unsuccessfully to get her demands addressed as far back as into the early 1980's. (Texaco [now Chevron] was a 40% interest owner in those operations.) She stated some of that in her affidavit dated October 5, 2000.
Note: Betty Blanchard signed a number of affidavits prior to her death. She wanted certain facts brought forth in the event she died without being able to personally testify to the information in the affidavits. She believed that after her death this information might remain silent forever, if not formalized by affidavits. Since lawsuits have been unsuccessful in trying to bring forth the information that would addess her concerns, those affidavits will now be presented for public viewing throughout these pages in appropriate places - as they are needed.
Newman Trowbridge, Jr., one of her attorneys in the law firm that represented her and spoke of Betty Blanchard (his client) in his 1986 letter to Bill Wessell, attorney. Bill Wessell (a New Orleans attorney) had personally represented Betty Blanchard on matters other than oil and gas. He began to ask a few key questions in his letter to Newman Trowbridge on her behalf. (Note: It would have been nice if Bill Wessell had continued to press on these matters but he did not.) Trowbridge died on May 20, 2009.
One of Betty Blanchard's main contentions in the litigations, that followed over the following 33+ years, was that her land had been environmentally contaminated by ARCO's operations, it had not been fully cleaned, and that the contamination impacted not only her land but the land of others as well and /or the waterways that surrounded her. She wanted her land fully enironmentally restored. Much of the contamination concerns can be found in at least (but not limited to) the following:
OC Legacy Project No. 023 -007-001
Compliance Order No. E-I & E-05-0233
Compliance Order No. E-I & E-09-0110
Compliance Order No. E-I & E-06--0351
Nancy Blanchard & Park Plantation, LLC vs Linder Oil Company, et al; No. 606-555, 24th JDC, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (Also known as the Blanchard III litigation.)
A few relatively recent letters in the public files of those cited environtmental actions stated issues and concerns as of the date of the respective letters:
Should one have an interest and visit any of the actions named above, you will see much more.
Also, extremely important, due to the use of mercury meters for years on Park Plantation, there has always been a concern over mercury contamination on the property and the waterways connected to it. Mercury from this source is not as a nonhazardous oilfield waste (NOW). This source of mercury is bought at supply houses, etc. then brought onto the site and then dropped on the land over the years. This source of mercury is not part of the production stream. One 1994 letter that describes the presence of mercury (at the date of that letter). Please note the comments about mercury presence found in waterway sediments and fish. Then, in 2003, years after all the mercury was supposedly removed, and years after the Blanchard I litigation was purportedly settled, more mercury is found and this incident report was generated. (This will all be addressed in the future on a website litigation page titled: Paul Maclean vs. G. Tim Alexander, III. This particular litigation the author filed pro-se writs all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court in order to get material words put back into hearing transcripts. Words that were removed by the court itself. Of course, the district court was never made to do that. This claim of removed verbiage will be supported by affidavits later linked to this site.)
Back to mercury contamination. Mercury contamination from mercury meters is a known hazardous material remaining on properties across Louisiana. This is a reality. A 1993 article discusses just a bit about that fact. But, there are many more articles that speak to the same health risk. More of these articles will be included over time. In the meantime, if the interested reader would just do a little research on the matter, that could easily be discovered and verified. (As to the 1993 article itself, It would be very interesting to see the report mentioned by Mike Lyons that would list how many mercury meters are in the field and to find out if mercury is under them.)
There is a multitude of information about mercury in Louisiana waterways and its effects upon the food chain and its detrimental health effects. More articles will be included as these pages are built. One needs only go to the Louisiana Department of Enviornmental Quality (LDEQ) website to see much more readily available information. The question is why is this source of mercury poisoning from old oil and gas meters not being fully addressed across the State? A question much larger than this website can answer.
To the author's knowledge, there has never been evidence produced that all the mercury under each old mercury meter site on Park Plantation (and/or any other meter site in South Jeanerette Field) has been fully removed. Based on LDEQ files and depositions taken in the Blanchard I Litigation, one would be led to believe the mercury has not all been removed. A fact that is getting harder to prove over time because of what happens to elemental mercury over time. As long as the mercury remains in the elemental state, it can typically be seen with the naked eye, if undisturbed. It shines in the sun like broken glass.
On Park Plantation (and other places like it) vegetative cover has been allowed to grow over the land and that makes it very difficult to see if the elemental mercury still remains. Once elemental mercury converts to methyl mercury, it becomes invisible and therefore it becomes much harder to detect and lowers the chances that the responsible party will ever have to remove it. If this land would have been farmed (as on other properties in South Jeanerette Field), normal farming operations would have diluted it across the fields so that it could not be seen and detected. But, regardless of whether it could be seen or not, it would still be there converting into the environment as methyl mercury. The author contends that is exactly why companies like ARCO began removing mercury meters in the 1970's and 80's but spent little effort, if any, to remove the mercury underneath them in the soil. They clearly understood that over time it would become invisible to the naked eye and virtually undetectable.
All these actions and variables as well as the public records leads one to believe that there have knowingly been public hazards on Park Plantation and on certin other properties in the South Jeanerette Field since long before any litigations commenced. Once the disputes on Park Plantation ends, all will go silent and unaddressed on many matters. That is in part why the author will continue to bring forth this information until it is all been brought forth. We cannot let such matters go silent and unaddressed.
Unfortunately, the Office of Conservation and/or the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has been of little help in trying to fully remediate Park Plantation (much less the other lands operated by ARCO) in the South Jeanerette Field over the years. In fact, in the Blanchard I Litigation, the Office of Conservation was actively opposed to and detrimental to the effort. In 1988 the Office of Conservation actually fabricated a False Affidavit that was used against Blanchard and the author and the public and solely to the benefit of the defendants in the Blanchard I LItigation. (This affidavit has long been proven to be false.)
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT? ONE EXAMPLE...
FOUR CORNERS, LA
With at least all the above going on at Park Plantation, as a example of a potentially exposed area at risk, Four Corners, LA (a small rural community) is approximately three miles southwesterly and down-drainage from Park Plantation and the South Jeanerette Field. Four Corners has had its share of health issues over the years. There is a 2004 article about that. Park Plantation is but one tract of land (547.59 acres) in the South Jeanerette Field. That particular oil and gas field field covers thousands of acres in St. Mary Parish generally between Baldwin, LA and Jeanerette, LA. This aerial generally shows the area and the locations of Four Corners and of Park Plantation.
To properly care for the public good (what our environmental agencies are formed to do), each and every other piece of property operated by ARCO in the South Jeanerette Field needs to be fully environmentally assessed just as Park Plantation needs to be and then all of them need to be fully remediated. To the author's knowledge, all other South Jeanerette landowners or stakeholders are silent on these matters.
Although, to the author's knowledge, there has never been a direct cause and effect study performed directly connecting South Jeanerette Field and Four Corners, one must take into account and consider the contamination that apparently has been on Park Plantation (but not limited to Park Plantation) for years in the South Jeanerette Field and its close location to Four Corners. It is conceivably possible that whatever may be reaching Four Corners may be continuing to move southerly to Glencoe as well. (It is the author's position, that the $750,000+ that was spent on the U.S.A. servitude on Park Plantation to the benefit of one party - would have much better been spent on such a study that could benefit many.)
In depositions obtained in the Blanchard I Litigation, it was testified to by an ARCO representative that ARCO operated in the same manner across all its South Louisiana fields. That means these environmental concerns need to be expanded to other areas operated by ARCO as well. Those fields, as testified to by ARCO in that deposition, will be later listed on the Blanchard I Litigation page for the stakeholders in those areas to be aware of. (Knowing all this, it would be interesting to see how much mercury has been voluntarily removed from those fields by ARCO [now BP]) knowing fully well the health effects of mercury.
As to Park Plantation, the author first met Betty Blanchard in April of 1986. At that time, unknown to her and the author, as per the 1996 Newman Trowbridge letter, he and his business associates were attempting to acquire the mineral interests of Betty Blanchard for a miniscule amount of money. That is when the author first stumbled into this byzantine set of facts and relationships that existed by politically-connected individuals trying to be oil and gas operators in Louisiana - where they had a high level of influence. (It is only that sort of political influence that could result in the false affidavit from one representative of the Office of Conservation and additional agents supporting him in a hearing under oath in court.)
That attempted acquisition going on while Betty Blanchard's attorney and her law firm knew all she initially wanted was to simply have the subject lease cancelled and ARCO off her property! Instead of demanding a release, Trowbridge and his business associates set out to clandestinely acquire her mineral interests of that property. This is a horrendous situation and it will get worse because of what has gone on in the courtrooms of this State to cover these facts up so that certain members of the bar could be protected and not held accountable for their actions. It is the author's opinion, that the corruption of public records, etc. over multiple litigations happened primarily to keep the original facts from ever being known by the public! (There will be much more on all this written on these pages as well as the known cancellability of the lease in 1995 and 1996, while the so-called oil and gas business associates were attempting to clandestinely acquire the minerals from the same elderly widow being represented by a member of the group. A sad situation in deed.
David P. Broadbridge was a consulting geologist for Linder Oil Company, A Partnership (Linder). He had a company by the name of KIMSU Oil Company. Mr. Broadbridge had geologic prospects on the Blanchard Property. Because of Linder, the Blanchard III was filed in Jefferson Parish, LA.
Linder wanted to drill and operate that property. G. Miles Biggs, Jr. was the President of Louisiana General Oil Company, a partner of Linder.
Mary Coon Biggs was a lawyer in Betty Blanchard's law firm that represented her while another lawyer in the law firm attempted to clandestinely acquire her minerals with his business associates.
Linder and certain defendants in the Blanchard I litigation conducted oil and gas business in other fields (including but not limited to Bayou Pigeon Field).
G. Tim Alexander, III, Betty Blanchard's and the author's attorney shared office suite space with Linder at the time he undertook representation of Betty Blanchard and the author in 1993.
All this will be much more revealed and evidenced under the litigations themselves. To see more about the Paul Maclean vs. G. Tim Alexander, III litigation, click here.