Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

 
Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Cathy Harrelson
Climate Change in Florida - Threat from Below
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 11:39

Steinhatchee-sunrise photo from Suwannee River Water Management District Sunrise over Steinhatchee River. Photo courtesy of Suwannee River Water Management District. In the U.S., we’ve seen year after year of record high temperatures, droughts in Texas, massive storms and surges, shifting plant zones and loss of species diversity. As the state with the most shoreline at risk, the climate change threats to Florida from sea level rise are legion. Many of our “leaders” continue to deny that the threat is real, the threat is global, and it will impact all of us.

Studies have documented risks to shorelines, coastal mangrove migration at the expense of tidal freshwater forests, impacts on economically important species like oysters and finfish, and flood insurance rate hikes. Increasing tidal flooding and decreasing relative elevation are strongly correlated with a decline in forest species richness. As mean high tides lines rise, many of our coastal communities face water inundation and ultimately, property abandonment. In spite of these risks, many communities fail to restrict building in high risk areas, ignoring the future costs of these losses. In Miami, the cost of that ignorance is right here, right now.

Read more: Climate Change in Florida - Threat from Below
 
Guest Blogger
Fracking Water Use Issues in Southwest Mississippi
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 14:34

 

Haynesville Shale North Louisiana Frack Pads Haynesville Shale North Louisiana Frack Pads, GRN flight 2014.While some speculate that the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) may provide a future oil "boom" in southwest Mississippi counties, the reality is, the boom is no longer hypothetical and it will not just affect southwest Mississippi. Various signs indicate that the TMS has indeed been opened to major commercial production. To date, there are at least eight major corporations drilling or planning to drill the TMS, hundreds of millions of dollars in investments coming into these corporations, and plans to house and feed the influx of people employed by the oil boom.

Millions of gallons of water are currently being pumped from rivers and ponds for fracking. Stream withdrawals threaten water quantity in the public waterways of southwest Mississippi and downstream in Louisiana’s East Feliciana, St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes. Despite the gears steadily turning, and multiple wells being drilled, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has yet to implement comprehensive oversight or anything more than a two-page application for the extensive surface water withdrawal occurring right now.

Read more: Fracking Water Use Issues in Southwest Mississippi
 
Cathy Harrelson
Fracking Victory in Florida!
Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:15

Florida Panther at Big Cypress Reserve - photo Ralph Arwood Flickr Florida Panther at Big Cypress National Preserve. Photo credit: National Park Service/Ralph Arwood.As we Floridians continue to guard our coastlines against offshore drilling, Texas oil companies are quietly moving to drill for oil in our backyards using a technique known as “acid fracking”. Acid fracking involves injecting massive quantities of fresh water, toxic chemicals and even salt water into the limestone below Florida’s aquifer – dissolving it to free up dirty fossil fuels. Thirty percent of these injection fluids are not returned to the surface and these chemical could impact our groundwater, and the Gulf.

In Collier County, east of Naples, residents banded together to fight against the proposed Golden Gate acid fracking project in their community. Great news! In a surprise move, the Dan A. Hughes oil company withdrew its permit to drill an exploratory well adjacent to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, and announced late Tuesday that it would cease drilling activity in Florida, including its well near the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Hughes pulled out after it received a $25,000 illegal fracking fine from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in April, and hours ahead of its activity report deadline to DEP. In spite of its sudden departure, DEP has filed suit against the company. The company cited "diminishing oil returns" as its motive, but has faced massive resistance from activists and multiple legal complaints.

Read more: Fracking Victory in Florida!
 
Steve Murchie
Louisiana Legislature and Governor Bail Out Big Oil
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:48

Jeff Parish lafitte oil field canals may 2014 Senate Bill 469, legislation meant to block a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for their damage to Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, passed the Louisiana legislature in June and was signed into law by Governor Jindal, becoming Act 544. The lawsuit, brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, is intended to restore wetlands necessary to protect coastal communities from flooding, storm surges, and hurricanes.

Governor Jindal and a majority of legislators have abandoned the hundreds of thousands of Louisianans facing another hurricane season with inadequate storm protection and a disappearing coast. Not only have they refused to ask the oil and gas industry to live up to their legal obligations, or contribute to coastal restoration in any meaningful way, they actively blocked others from simply enforcing the law. Consequently, a greater share of the cost for coastal restoration and flood protection will fall on Louisiana taxpayers instead.

Read more: Louisiana Legislature and Governor Bail Out Big Oil
 
Jayeesha Dutta
A Healthier Gulf Future Through Arts and Culture
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 15:33

This articles is excerpted from Gulf Currents, GRN's quarterly newsletter. To read the rest of the Summer 2014 edition of Gulf Currents, click here.


gulf future nola visioning salon smaller Participants at the Gulf Future Community Visioning Salon in New Orleans. Over the course of Gulf Restoration Network’s twenty-year history, we have partnered with a myriad of artists, musicians and cultural workers to organize, educate and empower communities to advocate for a healthy Gulf. In recent years, these partnerships have grown even closer.

GRN recently began a unique and inspiring cultural organizing partnership with the multidisciplinary performing arts production Cry You One. As a leader in the Gulf Future Coalition, which is a diverse coalition of groups formed in the wake of the BP disaster to protect and defend the Gulf, we worked with members of Cry You One to host a series of Community Visioning Salons across the five Gulf Coast states leading up to the Coalition’s annual Gulf Gathering. Integrating art, culture and storytelling has, in the words of Coalition members, “breathed new life into the Coalition” and is “inspiring hope to continue this work” as we mark four years since the country’s biggest environmental disaster started.

Read more: A Healthier Gulf Future Through Arts and Culture
 
Guest Blogger
Wasting Our Waterways: A Gulf Perspective
Monday, 07 July 2014 14:30

WastingOurWaterways2014-coverLast month, Environment America released its Wasting Our Waterways report, examining the astronomical amount of toxic pollutants that were discharged by industrial facilities into the waterways of the United States in 2012. 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals to be exact. Though the report highlights the multitude of problems with toxic discharges in watersheds big and small throughout the nation, some of the most staggering statistics hit just a bit closer to home.

At least one of the Gulf states managed to rank in the top five of nearly every statistical analysis, from toxic releases, to toxicity weighted pounds, to cancer causing and developmental toxins. Using the federal government’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which (only) requires industrial facilities to (self) report releases of chemicals found on the TRI list, Environmental America generated numerous different data sets. To illustrate the toxic soup the Gulf finds itself in, the report notes that Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama rank in the top five of Toxic Releases by volume, and Mississippi joins their ranks to round out the top four states for toxic releases by toxicity.

The report highlights the fact that many activities are not required to report to the TRI, including the oil and gas industry, agricultural fertilizer and nitrate runoff, and chemical storage facilities.

Read more: Wasting Our Waterways: A Gulf Perspective
 
Anna Dvorak
Door Knocking for a Healthy Gulf
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 13:57

canvasblog1For twenty years, the Gulf Restoration Network has been committed to uniting and empowering individuals to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Public outreach and activism are key tactics by which we have continued to achieve these goals, and our Summer Outreach Team is a critical component of these tactics.

This is the sixth consecutive summer that we’ve had the opportunity to send groups of passionate individuals into communities, sharing information about the significant issues facing our coast. Even in this technological age, the single most effective way to engage the public and identify new supporters is through one-on-one conversations. Since May, our Summer Outreach Team has been dedicated to building public support to hold BP accountable in the wake of the 2010 drilling disaster and to ensure effective environmental restoration by way of Clean Water Act fines.

Read more: Door Knocking for a Healthy Gulf
 
Jayeesha Dutta
Flooding Baton Rouge with Our Water and Our Voices
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:36

10418865 899996203349254_4550399957569939948_n This past Saturday, 7 members of GRN staff joined approximately 75 environmental advocates from across Louisiana to "flood Baton Rouge" with our water and voices. The rally marked the end of a week-long march from Grand Isle in protest of Bobby Jindal's signing the controversial SB 469 (becoming act 544), and effectively letting Big Oil companies off the hook for their continued destruction to our wetlands and coastal ways of life. GRN partners and allies such as the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Louisiana Environmental Action Networkl, Restore the Gulf and the Green Army were all in attendance as well as many individual concerned citizens and activists.

10437440 899996723349202_622492010366743667_n A unique aspect to this rally was the invitation for attendees to bring water from affected areas to pour onto the lawn of the Governor's Mansion. Water bearers (perhaps actually pourers?) were also provided the opportunity to speak. GRN's own Scott Eustis brought water from the Pearl River and with it, ongoing concerns around the Dead Zone ecological crises.

Read more: Flooding Baton Rouge with Our Water and Our Voices
 
Matt Rota
Protect Louisiana's most scenic rivers
Friday, 27 June 2014 13:50

AntidegIf you’ve ever spent a day floating along the Bogue Chitto, fishing the West Pearl, or otherwise enjoying one of Louisiana’s river or streams, you know that we have some of the most beautiful landscapes and waters in the country. Many of these water bodies receive special protection as “Outstanding Natural Resource Waters,” but the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is trying to make it easier to pollute these outstanding waters. We can’t let that happen – tell LDEQ to protect our most precious waters.

“Outstanding Natural Resource Waters” are supposed to receive the strongest possible protection under the Clean Water Act, but not if LDEQ gets their way. They are attempting to change the definition of “degradation” to make it easier to pollute these rivers and streams, and are even looking to let people who are currently illegally polluting these waters to get permits!

Please take a moment to tell LDEQ that they should be protecting our most precious rivers, not making it easier to pollute them:

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50843/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14351

Matt Rota is GRN's Senior Policy Director. 

 
Guest Blogger
More Isn't Better When It Comes to Discount Clutter
Thursday, 26 June 2014 10:38
Ronald A. Goux wants to build a Walmart in Covington. Residents don't want a Walmart when there are multiple other shopping centers that can satisfy the demand. Now, despite an ongoing lawsuit, Mr. Goux is ignoring the courts ruling and moving forward with his plans to build. 
 
So what does this mean for our wetlands? 
 
The area of the proposed Walmart already floods during heavy rains and the loss of 7.5 acres of wetland forest, the flooding will only get worse. 
 
Mr. Goux proposes that the entrance and exit of his Walmart be situated on a residential two-lane road. This is unviable for the neighborhood--as traffic is already at a halt during rush hour, and Walmart customers will only add to this roadblock. Three schools use this two-lane road, as well as local fire department, police department and paramedics. Building this Walmart will lower the safety of the roads by adding more congestion to the area, increasing the likelihood of an accident and increasing the chances that help will not be able to get to those who need it in time. 
 
 
Read more: More Isn't Better When It Comes to Discount Clutter
 
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Recent Posts


Sunrise over Steinhatchee River. Photo courtesy of Suwannee River Water Management District. In the
Written by Cathy Harrelson
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
  Haynesville Shale North Louisiana Frack Pads, GRN flight 2014.While some speculate that the
Written by Guest Blogger
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Florida Panther at Big Cypress National Preserve. Photo credit: National Park Service/Ralph
Written by Cathy Harrelson
Thursday, 17 July 2014
Senate Bill 469, legislation meant to block a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for their
Written by Steve Murchie
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
This articles is excerpted from Gulf Currents, GRN's quarterly newsletter. To read the rest of the
Written by Jayeesha Dutta
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Last month, Environment America released its Wasting Our Waterways report, examining the
Written by Guest Blogger
Monday, 07 July 2014
For twenty years, the Gulf Restoration Network has been committed to uniting and empowering
Written by Anna Dvorak
Wednesday, 02 July 2014