Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Guest Blogger
Another Pipeline on the Gulf Coast?
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 13:54
Enterprise Products wants to build a 53 mile pipeline straight through the Atchafalaya basin. As one of the largest providers of fossil fuel infrastructure in the United States, their disregard for the largest wetland in our country is unnerving. Take their permit request submitted to the New Orleans District Army Corps and Louisiana DEQ for example--there's no plan to mitigate for more than 350 acres of wetland destroyed, or the tens of thousands of wetland acres blocked in the basin. This project cannot proceed without a plan for replacing these invaluable swamps.
Crossing from East to West, through Assumption, Ascension, Iberville, and St. Martin Parishes, the project is bound to block regional hydrology. This is a serious problem facing our wetlands. Blocking water movement leads to further, unaccounted for, wetland degradation. In the Atchafalaya basin, already criss-crossed by pipelines, the last thing we need is one more.
Proposed course for one piece of the new Aegis pipeline.
Read more: Another Pipeline on the Gulf Coast?
Guest Blogger
Highway to Nowhere
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 10:50
Highway to Nowhere 
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD) wants to build a highway in St. Tammany as an alternative to LA 41. But they did a study and found that an alternative route to LA 41 wasn’t needed! Now they want to move this unnecessary highway so that it’ll cut through more of our wetlands on top of building something that we don’t need and most certainly don’t want. 
So what does this mean for our wetlands? 
Read more: Highway to Nowhere
Steve Murchie
Who pays the bill to restore the coast?
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:29

katrina landfall noaaImage courtesy of NOAA.With hurricane season starting June 1st, the Louisiana Legislature has punched a hole in our coastal lines of defense. On May 29th, the House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 469, which retroactively blocks the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East lawsuit against 90+ oil and gas companies for their damage to coastal wetlands. The Senate concurred less than 24 hours later, and the legislation now goes to Governor Bobby Jindal.

Will Governor Jindal stick taxpayers with the bill for coastal restoration and let the oil and gas industry off the hook for their damage to our wetlands? He has been a loud critic of the flood authority lawsuit since the beginning, and his friends in the legislature pushed SB 469 through. But that doesn't mean we should let him off easy. Take a minute and send him an email. If you're on Twitter, so is he @BobbyJindal and you should let him know #NoBigOilBailout #vetoSB469. Include us @HealthyGulf.

Read more: Who pays the bill to restore the coast?
Scott Eustis
Northshore Unites to Protect the Southern Hills Aquifer
Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:00
Susan T and kids protest that they love CovingtonIn May Abita Springs assembled against fracking, raising the concerns we've had about fossil fuel development over the years. Impacts to the air, community health, and especially water pollution weigh heavily on people's minds on the Northshore.
Louisiana has seen much of its population of means flee coastal areas in the past decade-- fleeing the industry that dominates our coast, as well as the rising waters of the Gulf. Communities displaced by industrial development have relocated to the Northshore. This turmoil has meant that Louisiana the slowest population growth rate of all five Gulf states, and steadily dropping representation in DC. But fracking has now come to the last place in Louisiana that has not been drilled.
photo by Julie Dermansky 
Read more: Northshore Unites to Protect the Southern Hills Aquifer
Steve Murchie
Critical Vote this Thursday on Big Oil Bailout
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:42

BigOilBailoutActionAlertWe are just days away from the start of hurricane season, and hundreds of thousands of Louisianians still have inadequate protection from storm surges and flooding. The state’s Coastal Master Plan is a bold strategy to restore our coastal lines of defense, but taxpayers alone cannot afford the $50 billion price tag.

The oil and gas industry, which is responsible for at least 400-600 square miles of coastal land loss, needs to pay for a share of restoration and protection. If you are a Louisiana resident, call your legislator today to say that Big Oil must help restore our coastal lines of defense.

Last summer, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed a lawsuit demanding that oil and gas companies take responsibility for the damage they have done, but Big Oil’s allies in Baton Rouge are now working to derail that lawsuit.

The 2014 Legislative session ends on June 2nd, and the Louisiana House of Representatives is expected to vote on SB 469 – the Big Oil Bailout bill - any day now. Please take a moment to tell your legislator not to bailout big oil at the expense of Louisiana’s taxpayers.

Steve Murchie is GRN's Campaign Director.

Cathy Harrelson
Hands Across the Sand and Land
Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:21

Hands 2014 St. Pete photo by danielle carapellucci Hands Across the Sand and Land in St. Pete. Photo courtesy of Danielle Carapellucci. Hands Across the Sand and Land joined Keystone XL National Day of Action on May 17th in a global call: No Dirty Energy, Clean Energy Now. Communities around the country are facing threats from coastal and offshore drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline, seismic blasting, tar sands mining, hydraulic fracturing, LNG export terminals, mountain top removal, and coal trains and terminals. In addition to damaging our water, air and wildlife these projects also threaten to worsen climate change, which is already leading to rising sea levels, ocean acidification, crop loss and increased drought, forest fires and flooding.

From Florida to Alaska, and across the world, people gathered at “Hands Across the Sand and Land” events to call for an end to dirty fossil fuel projects that endanger our local communities, and for an acceleration of the shift to clean, renewable energy. The events showed support for a clean energy future at a time when a host of new dirty fuel proposals are under consideration and climate chaos is a daily reality. This year, Hands Across the Sand & Land organized the event as a National Day of Action in partnership with the Tar Sands Coalition, which is focused on stopping the Keystone XL pipeline. Hands Across the Sand & Land is sponsored by Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, Surfrider Foundation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Oceana, Center for a Sustainable Coast, Chart 411, Urban Paradise Guild, and All things Healing.

Read more: Hands Across the Sand and Land
Jonathan Henderson
Bird's Eye View: Shocking Photos They Don't Want You To See
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 07:03

CP The photos below are shocking and the oil and gas industry lobbyists, attorneys, and their paid-for politicians would rather you not see them. Given the evidence in these images, it is not unreasonable to fear that New Orleans as we know and love it may very well have no future. Unless we fight and fight now. The same holds true for many other beloved communities in south Louisiana. Why? Because, the armor (wetlands) protecting New Orleans and other communities has been destroyed by the oil, gas, and pipeline industries. Just take a look at the shocking photos below. The photos show undisputable recklessness, lack of care, arrogance, and unconscionable treatment by the oil and gas industry of our most critical natural storm defenses (wetlands). More importantly though, is that the photos show irrefutable legal evidence that oil, gas, and pipeline companies are directly responsible for damages.

Yet, Louisiana’s very own elected officials, so-called “leaders”, including but not limited to Governor Jindal and State Senator Robert Adley, are acting as the defense team for those guilty of destroying our wetlands, and they are doing so in the state legislature of all places, not the courts. Why? Is it because Jindal has received over a million dollars in campaign donations from oil companies? Is it because Senator Adley continues to rake in his fortune from gas industry profits? Regardless of the reason, Jindal, Adley, and the industry lobbyists are doing everything they can, right now, to prevent the courts from seeing the very evidence you can see in photos. 

Read more: Bird's Eye View: Shocking Photos They Don't Want You To See
Sarah Holtz
Artists and activists come together for the Wetlands Art Tour
Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:55

mock wedding
Mock wedding between the state of Louisiana and Big Oil
Last Saturday, May 10th, we hosted our first annual Wetlands Art Tour in the St. Claude arts district of New Orleans in partnership with John Calhoun of The Goodnight Show. The Art Tour was a full day of performances, exhibits, and activist efforts concentrated on the critical environmental crisis of coastal land loss in Louisiana.

The day began bright and early with a group bicycle ride to Bayou Bienvenue, the body of water that divides Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes. The bike tour ended with a marsh grass planting and kayak tour around the bayou, which sparked a fantastic dialogue about wetlands issues.

The day continued with an amazing line-up of speakers at the Marigny Opera House that included local environmental activists Monique Verdin, Mark Davis, John Barry, and GRN’s Coastal Wetland Specialist, Scott Eustis. The speakers provided a breadth of perspectives on wetlands loss, the destructive role of oil and gas activity, and what we can do now to advocate for coastal restoration. After the speaker panel, Verdin screened her documentary, My Louisiana Love, at Café Istanbul followed by a talk back.

Read more: Artists and activists come together for the Wetlands Art Tour
Guest Blogger
Big Changes Coming for the Gulf Coast
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 10:07
The National Climate Assessment (NCA), released last month, paints a bleak future for the Gulf states.  
Compiled every 4 years by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee and over 300 experts, the NCA examines the effects of climate change on the United States. According to the report, rising seas, increasing temperature, and decreasing freshwater are all set to destabilize ecosystems and communities in our low-lying coastal areas.
Louisiana has already lost over 1800 square miles of land over the past 80 years. Decades of land submergence from Oil and Gas exploitation, as well as sea level rise is inundating land at an increasing rate. Coastal wetlands are disappearing. These changes decrease coastal protection from storm surges, and put stress on fisheries. 
Read more: Big Changes Coming for the Gulf Coast
Scott Eustis
Don't Frack Our Wetlands
Monday, 12 May 2014 13:14

frackingnorthshoreWhy frack in our cleanest waters and wetlands? Helis Oil and Gas and Ed Poitevent, a private landowner, want to make a buck off of St. Tammany Parish, and they are endangering our waterways, economy and health in the process.

The law is clear: Helis must avoid destroying wetlands when they can. But they’re planning to place a frack pad in one of the only wetland sites on their lease, and want to proceed without environmental review.

The Army Corps and Department of Environmental Quality must deny their permit.

The threat of fracking to St. Tammany parish is severe. Despite the Department of Natural Resources’ recommendations that fracking waste pits not be placed in floodplains, Helis is choosing to do just that, risking toxic waste spilling into Cane Bayou headwaters.

Fracking projects grow at exponential rates, with thousands of wells drilled within years due to the short-term nature of each well. St. Tammany Parish faces growing threats to public health and safety due to increased truck traffic, diminishing property values, increased road maintenance expenses, groundwater contamination, and explosions.

Read more: Don't Frack Our Wetlands
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