By Roger James Kuhns
Army General Russel Honoré retired in 2008 as a three-star general. He is known as the “Category Five General” because he took charge of the 2005 Joint Katrina Task Force. He said, in a PBS interview (5-30-2019) his experiences radicalized him because when he came home to Louisiana he found catastrophes. Russel Honoré saw how the petrochemical plants had poisoned the state, how the coastline was disappearing from bad business practices and climate change, and how the air was some of the most polluted in America. The southern parishes of Louisiana are known as “Cancer Alley”. There are over 1700 oil and gas and petrochemical companies operating in Louisiana and the people and land have been severely impacted. This affects us in Connecticut because we get some of our oil and gas from Louisiana.
There are hundreds to thousands of oil spills across America and its waters every year. Over 405 million gallons of oil were spilled between 1989 – the year of the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska (32 million gallons of crude) and last year, 2018. This includes the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 (193 million gallons of crude) (DOT, EPA, USGS). There were many spills in Connecticut in 2018, for example in January, four thousand gallons of oil spilled into the Naugatuck River in Waterbury, 400 gallons were spilled in Groton in July, and 700 gallons leaked from a tank in Bridgeport. This is a nationwide problem.
So Russel Honoré founded his “Green Army” to fight bad practices, poor safety, environmental disasters, and health impacts to people in Louisiana. He was featured on a PBS news hour story, a 2016 TED talk, and many news stories. We need a lot of Russel Honorés across America, and there are many. Community Actions like this are critical. It is through such actions we can keep fracking fluids and practices out of Connecticut, demand more renewable energy, and increase the use of electric cars.