Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 11:37am
Turkey Vultures in Tree
Turkey Vultures by focusshoot, via Creative Commons, unaltered

This month, the Mississippi Legislature wrapped up one of the most acrimonious regular sessions of the past few years. The fighting, arguing and ugliness were open and constant, and the state is a little more broke at the end of the session than when it started. The majority proudly passed and enacted tax cuts even while state revenues trended down. The Governor and leaders in the House and Senate are unapologetic about the results which promise added financial strain for state agencies, health care, and public schools and universities during the next fiscal year. 

This year’s regular session was probably also a dress rehearsal for the special session that Governor Bryant is likely to call during the summer, when $150 million - the first installment of the BP economic damage settlement - is paid to the state of Mississippi.

This economic damage money is just one of many different categories of the...

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 3:17pm
BP disaster source

This week, Gulf residents and the nation are marking 6 years since the beginning of the BP oil disaster. On April 20, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, claiming eleven lives and causing devastating harm to Gulf Coast communities and our ecosystem. Six years later, we remember the eleven lives lost, and stand together as one Gulf by continuing to push for comprehensive ecosystem restoration and a transition away from the destructive oil and gas industry.

“The long term impacts of BP’s oil continue to affect the region’s people and environment,” says Cyn Sarthou, Executive Director of the Gulf Restoration Network. “Recent studies raise serious concerns regarding the health of the Gulf of Mexico. The jury is still out on how systemic and long-lasting the impacts of the disaster on the Gulf’s natural resources will be.” 

An ...

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 11:42am

How does the Gulf sound? 

"The noise levels we've seen in the Gulf of Mexico are out of control, they are the highest we've seen anywhere in the world" -Kait Fraser

We caught up with Kait Fraser at the GOMRI 2016 conference in Tampa, Fl, and you can listen here. Kait presented her findings on the sounds of whales, dolphins, ships and seismic crews in the Gulf of Mexico. The Scripps Ocean Institute's research is the first to use passive acoustic monitoring in the Gulf and, while Kait and colleagues are hearing more dolphins, Sperm Whales, Pan Tropical Dolphins, Russo's dolphins, than have ever been seen from ships, there are some sounds that endanger the dolphins hearing. 

Greenpeace has produced a video on the impacts of seismic exploration, so you yourself can hear the underwater noise here.

There is so much to...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 12:58pm

We are very excited to introduce two new members of GRN's board: Ackie Adams and Martha Collins! We know that these two passionate leaders will strengthen our work and can't wait for them to get started.

Ackie Adams of Dallas, TX

Ackie is a long time supporter of GRN. She has worked for 15 years leading efforts in Dallas, to educate and organize Aveda salons during Earth Month raising funds to support the work of GRN and other environmental partners.

Through her work, Ackie has helped GRN reach hundreds of Aveda salon staff who spread the word about our efforts to protect the Gulf and its waters.

Although currently a Texas resident, Ackie grew up in coastal Mississippi and she is still very attached to the area. She is a mother of two and serves on their school’s PTA Environmental Committee as the Vice...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 12:24pm

The Pascagoula River, the last undammed river system of its size class in the lower 48 states, is threatened with the loss of 2800 acres of wetlands if Big Cedar Creek is dammed in George County, Mississippi. Take action now to stop this unnecessary damming project!

In a sneaky move, local governments are disguising their long-standing desire for recreation lakes as industrial water supply, which is misleading to the public. Water storage for downriver industries is not necessary, and industry has not asked for the water.

Submerging working farmland, high quality wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest along Mississippi’s best protected coastal river corridor is the wrong thing to do. ...

Monday, April 11, 2016 - 2:49pm

Last week, Governor Edwards signed an Executive Order to affirm his commitment to implement Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. This is great news for our coast and our communities, and now we need Governor Edwards to act.

For years, coastal communities from Gretna to Ironton have been fighting an out-of-state coal company that is trying to build a coal export terminal in their backyards and on top of a coastal restoration site.

We need Governor Edwards to act on his promise of coastal restoration by joining our communities to stop the RAM coal export terminal. Take action now for coast not coal!

If the RAM coal export terminal is built, communities will face giant exposed coal piles along the Mississippi River, mile-long uncovered coal trains and coal dust pollution. This project is bad for our coast and for our communities...

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - 9:51am
Rosina Phillippe

This blog was written by Rosina Philippe of the Plaquemines Parish Grand Bayou Village in Louisiana. Elder Philippe is descended from the Atakapa-Ishak/Chawasha Tribe, tracing their inhabitation of coastal Louisiana far earlier than when the European explorers arrived in the area. Elder Philippe speaks frequently at universities and conferences nationwide and publishes accounts of the challenges her village faces.


“The Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw in Louisiana will be relocating with the help of $48 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

Wow! I was amazed and delighted, when I read this announcement. I celebrated the receipt of this award with Chief Albert Naquin and the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw; a tremendous amount of work had gone into translating their “vision” of resettlement and sustainability onto the printed pages of the “Proposal for Resettlement” application.

The vision of resettlement for IdJC,...

Friday, April 1, 2016 - 2:09pm

Access to clean water is a human right. Unfortunately, not everyone in the United States has that access. From Flint, Michigan to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the deep waters of the Gulf, pollution & toxins threaten the health of our families, animals & environment.

Aveda sees the importance of clean water not only in the services they provide - haircuts, spa treatments, hair & makeup products - but in the communities they serve. As a result, for the past 10 years, Aveda has committed to prioritizing and funding clean water projects around the world.

GRN is proud to be an Aveda Earth Month partner by joining with salons across the Gulf (plus Arkansas, Oklahoma, & Tennessee) who raise money to support GRN's clean water work. To celebrate the beginning of April as Earth Month, we put together a video to explain why protecting our Gulf waters is important to everyone....

Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 10:02am
Re-Focus  BP Mississippi Restoration Spending on Water Quality
Repair Sewage Lines that Leak Directly into Our Streams!

Where are we with BP Restoration projects focused on coastal water quality improvement in Mississippi?

To answer this, you can tally the relevant project types that have been announced thus far from the various funding streams resulting from the BP disaster settlement. Three main funding sources are the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA), RESTORE Act, and The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Of all the projects announced under these headings, I count six in Mississippi that focus on water quality in coastal rivers, bays or the Mississippi Sound. Not one of the projects directly addresses water quality with current spending for repairs, or upgrades to any sewage collection or treatment systems. Sewage and urban nutrient loading were identified as the most pressing coastal water quality problems by a series of Community Conversations held two years ago in coastal counties, funded through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 6:42pm
Organizers arrange art at City Hall before marching to the Superdome

Last Wednesday was beautiful and historic. While the sun rose and birds chirped, hundreds of citizens gathered at New Orleans City Hall. Representing Texas through Florida, Gulf-coast residents were joined by Louisiana leaders and supporters from as far as California and Washington D.C.

The day began when local speakers took the stage. We soon marched Dome-bound, embodying industry resistance. Giant, rainbow banners read “KEEP IT IN THE GROUND” and “WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT.” Other messages reflected our diverse and growing vision of a fairer and healthier world. “BLACK LIVES MATTER” and “FREE THEM ALL” were prominent and powerful, in addition to my personal favorite, “LOVE IS LIBERATION.”

Well over a hundred individuals entered the federal auction once at the Superdome. The space was saturated with costumes and signs, the air heavy with chants and songs. Officials meanwhile still attempted to announce the winning lease recipients. Of the some 45,000,000...

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