Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

 
Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Steve Murchie
Hold BP Accountable
Friday, 04 October 2013 10:32

bptrialbuttonAs the trial for the BP disaster continues, it’s more important than ever that the Justice Department holds BP accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Between the court of public opinion and the actual courtroom, BP is doing everything they can to minimize their punishment for violating the Clean Water Act. Billions of dollars in fines and penalties are at stake, and much of that money could be used to restore the Gulf’s communities and ecosystems. Tell the Justice Department to continue to stand strong and to hold BP accountable for their damage to the Gulf.

Thanks to the RESTORE Act, most of the Clean Water Act fines BP is required to pay will be dedicated to Gulf recovery. These fines are estimated to be between $4-18 billion, but right now no one knows for sure how much BP will ultimately pay. What happens over the coming weeks in the courtroom will play a big part in determining the final sum. Please take action today and tell the Justice Department to make sure BP pays the maximum fines under the law.

While the nation’s eyes have largely turned elsewhere, the Gulf’s communities and wildlife continue to feel the fallout from the BP disaster. We need to hold them accountable for every barrel of oil, every gallon of Corexit, every dolphin that washed up onshore, and every person that was affected and continues to be plagued by the ongoing impacts from the BP disaster.

Steve Murchie is GRN's Campaign Director. 

 
Harry Lowenburg
Citizens Call on NOAA to Strengthen Bluefin Protections
Thursday, 03 October 2013 13:17

BP oil impact on spawning bftThe overlap of bluefin tuna's spawning area with BP's oil.On September 27th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held a public hearing in Belle Chasse, LA on proposed bluefin tuna regulations, attended by approximately 70 Gulf residents. Among other things, these proposed rules would restrict surface longline fishing in portions of the Gulf of Mexico during April and May, and implement an individual vessel annual cap for bluefin killed on surface lines. Dozens of people testified at the hearing, calling on NOAA to strengthen protections for bluefin and commit to helping fund fishermen’s transitions from longlines to more sustainable gear. Missed the hearing? You can still take action here.

Bluefin tuna were directly impacted by the BP disaster. With billions of restoration dollars soon flowing to the Gulf, NOAA has a real opportunity for win/win when it comes to protecting bluefin tuna. At the hearing, GRN and our partners called on NOAA to restrict surface longline fishing in the Gulf, while using BP disaster restoration dollars to help fishermen transition to more sustainable gear.

Read more: Citizens Call on NOAA to Strengthen Bluefin Protections
 
Guest Blogger
Pippin Frisbie-Calder: Artist for the Gulf
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 08:50

Through hundreds of hours canoeing the Louisiana and Florida wetlands I have grown a deep love and appreciation for the diversity of the thriving ecosystems and interconnected wetlands along the Gulf coast. Years of logging and dredging of oil and gas canals have eroded and polluted our wetlands. Without fresh sediment from the Mississippi river to combat this loss, these environments are increasingly threatened. As an artist, I believe these spaces must be observed and documented in order to increase awareness of these issues and to preserve, from an artistic perspective, a memory of what we have and may still lose.

My recent series of cypress and wetland prints are large and grandiose to reflect the awe that is felt when standing next to majestic old and living cypress and hardwoods that have survived a century of human exploitation. Through images gathered in live sketching, photographs and research I aim to capture the raw natural beauty and abundant wildlife of still unspoiled and untamed swamplands. I'm thrilled to team up with Gulf Restoration Network and am deeply honored to be showcased in their conference room! I look forward to picking the brains of many scientists and activists in the months to come!!

Pippin’s background includes a BFA with honors in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, a residency in Providence (RI), a study of large scale woodcuts abroad in Indonesia, a residency at Big Cypress National Preserve (FL), a residency and teaching position in Haiti, and special showings at a number of galleries, including in New Orleans, Florida, Maine, Denver, Providence (RI), and Yogyakarta (Indonesia). For inquiries about the artist, please contact Pippin Frisbie-Calder at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 
Natasha Noordhoff
Sold out event at Mondo!
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 15:01

nancy adams Last Sunday night was two hours of incredible company, food, and music.  Supporters arrived to the crooning of Sarah Quintana on her guitar and enjoyed pints of Bayou Teche beer and wine from Southern Eagle. Those who wanted to take action to protect the Bluefin Tuna at GRN's photo peition booth earned a sparkly blue tuna for their lapel.  The Chefs brought out fresh ceviche, enchiladas, and even some oven fired pizzas.  While munching on all that, John Barry elaborated on the need for better storm protection, the SLFPAE lawsuit against oil and gas companies, and the necessity of finding qualified, independent candidates to fill the three open spots on the board of the Flood Protection Authority.  Some left the event with silent auction items like a signed Drew Brees Saints jersey, VIP tickets to Voodoo Fest, or original art.  Thanks to the devoted host committee who helped organize the sold out evening, and to all the supporters who attended!

Extra special thanks to:
Chef Susan Spicer, Jenni Lynch and staff of Mondo
Chef Adolfo Garcia
Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins
Sarah Quintana
John Barry

Created with flickr slideshow.

 

Natasha Noordhoff is GRN's Development Director 

 
Cyn Sarthou
Keep Politics Out of Flood Protection
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:20

KeepPoliticsOutButtonThe Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East recently filed a lawsuit against 97 oil, gas, and pipeline companies to get them to pay their fair share to fund wetlands restoration and flood protection. The oil and gas industry has fought back politically, and is pushing Governor Jindal to pack the Flood Protection Authority with new members, but an independent nominating committee has the power to pick the slate of nominees the Governor must choose from. We need to keep politics out of flood protection. Click here to tell the nominating committee to submit a slate of qualified, independent candidates.

Three seats are up for grabs on the Flood Protection Authority, and, under the law, the nominating committee has to submit candidates to the Governor by Monday, September 30th. If they don’t meet the deadline, then the Governor can choose his own members.

The Flood Protection Authorities were reformed after Hurricane Katrina to make sure that their members are well-qualified, independent, and serving the public’s interest, not the interests of politicians. The nominating committee must not yield to pressure from the oil and gas industry or their political allies. Urge them to act quickly to nominate a qualified slate of candidates that ensures that Flood Protection Authority members remain well-qualified, independent, and focused on serving the public’s interest.

Cynthia Sarthou is GRN's Executive Director.

 
Harry Lowenburg
Switching Gears for Bluefin Tuna
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:29

bluefintuna action buttonAtlantic bluefin tuna, which on average weigh around 550 pounds, are world travelers – visiting the Mediterranean, Atlantic Coast and Gulf, sometimes multiple times in one year. Unfortunately, when they visit us here in the Gulf, they face the threat of wasteful surface longline fishing. Tell the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to take action to protect bluefin.

Longlines are a series of baited hooks suspended from fishing lines that stretch up to 40 miles. Although longliners are targeting other species like yellowfin tuna and swordfish, they also catch more than 80 unintended marine species – including bluefin tuna.

In response to public outcry, NOAA recently released proposed measures aimed at protecting this incredible fish. While their proposal is a good start, changes are needed to strengthen these protections and assist longliners in transitioning to more selective and effective fishing gear.

BP’s restoration dollars could be the saving grace for bluefin. The BP disaster directly impacted bluefin, and some of these restoration monies could go towards funding the transition to more selective gear. Please join us in asking NOAA for a solution that includes phasing out longlining in the Gulf by funding the transition to alternative gear.

 

Harry Lowenburg is GRN's Gulf Fish Forever Campaign Organizer.

 
Matt Rota
Dept. of Treasury Releases RESTORE Act Regs
Friday, 06 September 2013 13:38

Steve MurchieGRN's Campaign Director, Steve Muchie, giving public comment at the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Meeting in New Orleans

Last week, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council met in New Orleans to release their Initial Comprehensive Plan.  The Plan did not include a prioritized list of restoration projects, which the Council chalked up to the lack of funding regulations that had not been released by the US Department of Treasury. These regulations are meant to define the expenditure of funds under the RESTORE Act. Well, the regulations were just published today.

On first glance, the regulations look good; they outline how the Clean Water Act fines from the BP Oil Drilling Disaster should be granted.  While we would like to see requirements for transparency better demonstrated throughout the document we think they are on the right track.

If you want to dig into the new Draft Regulations, you can see them here.  GRN will be spending the next few days further analyzing the new rules and will have more comprehensive comments in the near future.  

 
Scott Eustis
WATCH--Coal Terminals don't need a hurricane to foul the river
Thursday, 05 September 2013 15:57

 â€śWe have never had coal runoff get in the river from a hurricane. We have had a little get off their facilities, but not into the river, and they have always cleaned it up well" --Billy Nungesser

United Bulk hasn't needed a hurricane to pollute our river. 

Each time we pass the United Bulk Facility, we find more and more coal in the air and water surrounding the facility.  During and immediately after Isaac, the black waters spread miles over the starving cattle, who drank from contaminated water.  A few days later, acres of pasture around the facility turned red with residue.

 

Read more: WATCH--Coal Terminals don't need a hurricane to foul the river
 
Andrew Whitehurst
Protect the Pearl
Thursday, 05 September 2013 15:22

protectthepearlThe Pearl River is threatened by a new dam and lake proposed for Jackson, Mississippi. This is a development project disguised as flood control and will make the Pearl River more fragmented by dams than it already is. Tell the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District, that the Pearl should not be further sacrificed in the name of real estate development.

For nearly 50 years, the Ross Barnett Reservoir has caused disruption to the Pearl’s flow and ecosystems, including causing significant evaporation of fresh water. This is water that doesn’t make it to the coastal marshes and estuaries of Mississippi and Louisiana. Building another lake will worsen this problem and destroy habitat for threatened species like the Gulf sturgeon and the ringed sawback turtle. Take action to say no to this destructive proposal.

Mississippi’s vital recreational and commercial fishing industries, especially its hardworking oystermen, rely on freshwater from the Pearl River to sustain coastal estuaries and oyster beds. Oysters need just the right mix of salty water and freshwater, and another dam on the Pearl could negatively impact that delicate balance.

Read more: Protect the Pearl
 
Scott Eustis
What is THAT, out in the Gulf?
Thursday, 05 September 2013 10:26

 BP's Thunder Hawk and Thunder Horse light up the planet with gigantic flare events.

The image below is a composite image of night lights across the Gulf Coast.  Can you find the flaring events?

If Gas is too cheap at Henry Hub, BP just puts it into the atmosphere. 

Compare the light from BP's platforms to say, Slidell, LA.

It's clear that there is a lot going on in the Gulf, of which we are told little.

Scott Eustis, M.S. is GRN's Coastal Wetland Specialist. 

 
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BP's Oil Drilling Disaster - Take Action

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