Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Andrew Whitehurst
Drilling on Mississippi's Coast?
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 12:07

protect ms_coast_from_drilling__2nd_alert_buttonRecently the state of Mississippi took another step toward drilling in coastal waters. Help us push back on this decision – take action to tell Governor Bryant to block drilling in state waters.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has approved the Mississippi Development Authority's (MDA) proposed rules for oil and gas seismic testing and leasing in state waters. DMR had the opportunity to protect our coast by determining what drilling really means for the quality of life and impact on natural resources in coastal communities - they chose to pave the way for ugly and risky industrial development instead.

Click here to tell Governor Bryant to block drilling in state waters.

Gas rigs on the horizon scar the natural scenic qualities of the coast, and damage the coastal tourism industry which is vital to Mississippi's economy. If just 3% of tourists decide to vacation elsewhere because of rigs on the horizon and pollution concerns, opening our waters to oil and gas would be a financial loss for the state.

Send a note to Governor Bryant today; urge him to stand up for the health of our coast and economy by rejecting oil and gas activities in state waters.

Andrew is GRN's Water Policy Director

Sarah Holtz
GRN's Holiday Gift Guide
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 09:46

Here at GRN we're lucky to have formed several great partnerships with artists, local businesses, and national companies that are devoted to protecting and restoring the Gulf. With the holidays fast approaching, we've compiled a list of our artist and business supporters to provide some unique holiday gift ideas.

Annie Moran Fine Jewelry
egret pendant
Annie Moran is a New York-based artist who specializes in illustration and jewelry. Her Fine Jewelry line is singular in its use of gemstones and precious metals to create beautiful and unusual shapes. Annie donates a portion of the proceeds from her Wetlands collection to GRN. View her collection of fine jewelry here.






AVEDA Candle
Aveda is a hair and skincare company and network of salons with an amazing focus on environmentally sustainable products derived from organic sources. GRN partners with Aveda every year for Earth Month, a national fundraising effort to support clean water projects around the world. To peruse Aveda's online catalogue, click here.


Read more: GRN's Holiday Gift Guide
Jayeesha Dutta
This Holiday Season, Give the Gulf A Future
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 12:45

GiveTheGulfAFutureButtonsmaller2318 Olympic sized swimming pools of oil spread over 15,000-football fields worth of coastline – that’s the scale and scope of the 2010 BP oil disaster. As you probably know, Gulf Restoration Network has continued to conduct monitoring work in its aftermath. What you might not know is that GRN also continues to organize all along the Gulf Coast in partnership with communities, citizens, and non-profit organizations in addressing the oil disaster to restore our Gulf.

The Gulf Future Coalition is a diverse group of over 50 organizations representing fishermen, faith leaders, environmentalists, cleanup workers, tribal members and community residents who live, work, and play on the Gulf Coast.  In February and March of 2014, we are hosting a series of Gulf Future Salons, featuring documentary film, participatory theater, digital storytelling, interactive workshops and collective vision mural making in each Gulf Coast state. Come springtime, we will gather as an entire region to strategize around the resulting community tapestry.

We need your help to make the Gulf Future Salons a reality

Read more: This Holiday Season, Give the Gulf A Future
Jonathan Henderson
Bird's Eye View: More Pollution Incidents to Report with New Photos
Friday, 13 December 2013 12:43

b1 As I wrap up things before heading off for a much needed holiday vacation, I wanted to be sure to share with you some photos of GRN’s most recent Gulf monitoring trips. As you look at the photos, please be sure to read the included descriptions for important details. After you have finished reading this blog and viewing the photos, if like me you are feeling angry, sad, frustrated, and motivated to do something, please take a minute to take action. There are many ways that you can help and I have included some options for you at the end of this blog. But first, below is a brief summary of our most recent watchdogging trips.

On November 26th a buddy of mine, Edwin Miles, and I drove down to Grand Isle to look for ongoing BP impacts. We went to Grand Isle State Park and it didn’t take very long to find hundreds of tar balls presumed to be ongoing impacts from the BP disaster. I filed a report with the National Response Center (NRC) and the next morning received a call from the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s office. I was informed that based on my report, which included GPS coordinates, that a clean-up crew was on the way to remove the oil. Please click below to view a slideshow of the photos then click "Show Info" to read the descriptions.

view slideshow image dec 2013 blog post copy

Read more: Bird's Eye View: More Pollution Incidents to Report with New Photos
Cathy Harrelson
“Clean Gulf” – Hiding in Plain Sight
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 09:51

bp sponsor smaller Cocktail hour at the "Clean Gulf" conference, sponsored by none other than BP. An oil and gas trade group calling itself “Clean Gulf” gathered last week in Tampa for its annual conference, even as BP’s toxic tarballs continued to wash up on Gulf coast beaches. “Clean Gulf” is the type of industry spin used to hide in plain sight. What can’t hide in plain sight are the daily oil leaks and spills, thousands of miles of canals through wetlands, abandoned oil infrastructure, and the ongoing BP disaster impacts that are the legacy of decades of oil and gas development in other Gulf states.

Jonathan Henderson, Coastal Resiliency Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network, attended the conference and spoke with Janelle Irwin from WMNF several times throughout the week about continued spills, the use of Corexit dispersant, and about oil spill clean up. Both Henderson and I spoke live about the use of Corexit, continued Gulf spills and Florida’s drilling landscape on WMNF’s Radioactivity with Rob Lorei on November 13th. Henderson remarked “we all lived with the uncertainty and anxiety of the BP oil disaster. Many communities along the Gulf continue to suffer personal health effects, cultural disintegration and job losses. In response to the disaster, a bipartisan commission made recommendations to make future drilling safer. Very few of those recommendations have been implemented.”

Read more: “Clean Gulf” – Hiding in Plain Sight
Matt Rota
Take Action to Save our Cypress
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 11:48

cypressShell Oil is proposing a 200 mile pipeline that will span across rivers in Louisiana, block bayous in the Atchafalaya Basin, and directly impact more than 700 acres of wetlands, including 200 acres of cypress forest. The cypress forests in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin is the largest continuous bottomland forest and swamp in the United States, and home to some of the best wildlife viewing, hunting, and fishing on the continent.

Help us fight Shell’s pipeline, and protect this cypress forest by writing to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The recent pipeline explosion in Milford, Texas, which led to the evacuation of the entire town, is a stark reminder of the dangers that pipelines pose to local communited and the environment. (1)

Shell’s pipeline would be the latest and greatest injury to the Atchafalaya Basin, a region where the Army Corps enforcement is so understaffed that they lack a boat to do inspections. Shell Oil is already violating its permit for an existing pipeline project in the same area by blocking the natural flows of surrounding bayous. This bad behavior should not be rewarded with another permit to destory wetlands and cypress forests in the Atchafalaya.

Take action now and tell the Army Corps to save our cypress.

Matt Rota is GRN's Senior Policy Director.

1. Hennessy-Fiske, Molly. “Liquefied gas pipeline explodes in rural Texas,” LA Times 14 November 2013

Scott Eustis
Save Our Cypress from Shell's Pipeline
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 09:44
Shell Oil is proposing yet another 200 mile pipeline across more than 20 rivers in Louisiana, including the entire Atchafalaya Basin, blocking more than 80 bayous and coulees in the Basin, and directly impacting more than 700 acres of wetlands, including 200 acres of forest.

Much of this forest lies within the Atchafalaya Basin, a Global treasure that is Louisiana's to keep, if we can. 
Read more: Save Our Cypress from Shell's Pipeline
Andrew Whitehurst
Oil and Gas, MDMR and Mississippi's Public Trust
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 13:18

Code of Justinian The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is currently reviewing rules that would allow for oil and gas development in state waters to determine if they are consistent with the Mississippi Coastal Plan. This consistency review involves the management of coastal assets that fall under the public trust doctrine. The basis for the doctrine is fifteen centuries old and is given in Roman Emperor Justinian’s Institutes (2.1.1): “The air, the rivers, the sea and seashore are incapable of private ownership; they are dedicated to the use of the public.” Its rationale was, in part, that maritime trade depended on free passage between ports and on the reliable and easy use of seashores and other places to land a ship and goods.  To promote commerce and the general welfare, the sovereign held certain things for unencumbered use of citizens.

Fast forward to today. Justinian’s doctrine matured, migrated, and filtered into the legal systems of Spain, France and England and later into American Common Law. We have this doctrine in use in Mississippi case law and state regulations. The public trust gets a specific reference in the Mississippi Coastal Program’s regulation document: wetland and ecosystem preservation are favored, but specific alterations to specific wetlands and ecosystems must be in compliance with the public purposes of the public trust. (Goal 2 Chapter 1 of the MCP)

Read more: Oil and Gas, MDMR and Mississippi's Public Trust
Helen Rose Patterson
Getting Our Day in Court
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 15:20

sea oats We got exciting news on Friday that our lawsuit against the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) regarding their rules for seismic testing and leasing will be moving forward. The MDA’s proposed rules were issued in December of 2011 and are a major threat to quality of life and the tourism economy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gas rigs on the horizon will damage the coast’s growing tourism industry, destroy the pristine beauty of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and ruin the quality of life that draws people to live along the coast.

Gulf Restoration Network, in partnership with the 12 Miles South Coalition is fighting to keep drilling 12 nautical miles south of the barrier islands to and to this end GRN and the Sierra Club filed suit against MDA in March 2012 to appeal the rules. A Hinds County Chancery Court refused MDA’s appeal to dismiss the case and we are awaiting a date for the trial to begin. 

Read more: Getting Our Day in Court
Anna Dvorak
Reflections on Power Shift 2013
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 15:33

powershift1 I arrived at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport during the wee hours of the morning, prepared to embark on a short, yet action-packed journey to the northeast. The occasion – the reason I was willing to leave my bed at 3AM – was Power Shift 2013.

For those unfamiliar, Power Shift is a biannual convergence organized by Energy Action Coalition (EAC). Over the course of three days, thousands of youth activists come together to work for a just future that includes a transition away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy economy.

From Saturday, October 19th through Monday the 21st, six thousand activists gathered together in Pittsburgh, PA for panels, keynote speeches, workshops, and actions on a variety of topics focused around climate, environmental, economic, and social justice. This year’s gathering sought to highlight the integral link between the environmental movement and other economic and social justice issues.

Read more: Reflections on Power Shift 2013
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