For the third installment of our 20 Victories for 20 Years series, we’re looking back on our work between 2009 and 2011, which was the critical period when we began to respond to the BP drilling disaster, while continuing to watchdog developers and polluters.
#11: Clean Up Your Act!
In an effort to give the Gulf States a wakeup call to their poor water quality regulations, GRN published the “Clean Up Your Act!” Report Card, which evaluated the extent to which the Gulf States are failing to implement the Clean Water Act. We followed up the release of the report by asking our supporters to send statement regulators a clear message that it was time for them to take action. “Clean Up Your Act!” spoke volumes about how the states are failing to protect our waters and public health, and provided recommendations to alleviate these problems. Since then, Florida has implemented stronger regulation of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution, and Mississippi has developed a process for protecting waterways that qualify as outstanding natural resources.
#12: Responding to the BP Oil Drilling Disaster
Three days after the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, GRN was the first non-governmental organization to do an aerial survey of site. GRN’s photos drew attention to the inadequate response by BP and the Coast Guard. Since the disaster, GRN has been monitoring BP’s ongoing impacts and empowering individuals to hold BP accountable.
#13: Gulf Future
In the fall after the BP disaster, GRN and partners organized Gulf Gathering: A Unified Response to the BP Oil Disaster, which brought together 95 people from 46 organizations to coordinate action and draft the Weeks Bay Principles for Gulf Recovery to outline community needs. In 2011, GRN helped found the Gulf Future Coalition, a diverse body of 53 organizations at its inception and 72 organizations today, to provide long-term support to communities working to protect the environment and culture of the Gulf Region for future generations.
#14: Protecting Florida’s Waters
GRN, The Tampa Bay chapter of The Sierra Club, Florida Clean Water Network, and several individuals successfully challenged a permit to construct a 500-acre development. This action protected important wildlife habitat, wetlands, and Tampa’s drinking water supply.
#15: Save The Pascagoula River
GRN and a broad coalition of citizens and conservation groups successfully halted the development of the Richton salt dome project. This oil storage scheme would have harmed over 1,5000 acres of wetlands, and involved sucking 50 million gallons of water a day from the Pascagoula River for 5 years to hollow out underground salt domes for oil storage. The salty, polluted byproduct would have then been dumped out into the Gulf, potentially harming nearby marine life. Due to the coalition’s actions, this project was de-funded.
Sarah Holtz is GRN’s Development Associate.