Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

 
Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Matt Rota
Big Dead Zone, Little EPA Action
Friday, 02 August 2013 10:18

dead zone august 2013On Monday, scientists released their annual measurement of the Gulf Dead Zone, which measured 5,800 square miles - an area larger than the state of Connecticut. Despite voluntary measures promoted by EPA and the states to curb Dead Zone-causing pollution, this area where oxygen levels get so low that sea life must swim away or suffocate has only grown bigger! Tell the EPA to take real action to tackle this important issue:

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50843/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11651

The Dead Zone doesn’t just threaten the fish and fisherfolk in its immediate footprint. A ripple effect is felt throughout the Gulf’s $2.8 billion dollar fishing industry, with competition and crowding increasing as fishing fleets focus their efforts on unaffected areas. Dead Zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution also creates environmental problems like toxic algae blooms throughout the entire Mississippi River Basin.

Read more: Big Dead Zone, Little EPA Action
 
Scott Eustis
Communities Don't Want Coal
Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Investors and Communities can agree: "Communities don't want coal export terminals. They don't want railroads trucking through town."

 And they don't want large piles of coal to blow all over them. 

Kinder-Morgan's coal and pet coke pile, down in Myrtle Grove, regularly coats boats in a black film, and increases the amount of house cleaning for residents, both inside and outside. 

And you thought your dog was a pain. Imagine living door to a neighbor like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35cIPgOLt3g

 

Read more: Communities Don't Want Coal
 
Matt Rota
Massive Gulf Dead Zone Shows Lack of Action by EPA, States
Monday, 29 July 2013 11:12

2013 DeadZone Today scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium released their annual measurement of the Gulf Dead Zone, which measured 5,800 square miles, larger than the state ofConnecticut. LUMCON has been measuring the Dead Zone since 1985, and this year’s Dead Zone is above both the long-term average size and the average size over the last 5 years. 

Despite voluntary initiatives to address the Dead Zone enacted by Louisiana and EPA, the Gulf Dead Zone has only grown bigger. This lack of action forced members of the Mississippi River Collaborative to file suit against EPA in 2012. Specifically, this lawsuit was filed due to EPA’s refusal to set numeric standards for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and ensure that all states in the river basin meet those standards.   

Read more: Massive Gulf Dead Zone Shows Lack of Action by EPA, States
 
Harry Lowenburg
Vote for the Gulf
Friday, 26 July 2013 14:57

TeamZemanickA little help please, for the Gulf. Chef Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's Restaurant is competing on Bravo Top Chef Masters for the Gulf Restoration Network as her designated cause.  Each week there is a vote to determine which chef team wins $1,000 for their charity partner. 

Vote here for Team Zemanick and Gulf Restoration Network!

You can cast 40 votes up until Monday, August 5th at noon Eastern (11 AM Central) time.

So, please spread the word in every way possible to defend the Gulf by voting for Team Zemanick.

 

Harry Lowenburg is GRN's Gulf Fish Forever Organizer

 
Michelle Erenberg
BP Is Not Making It Right ** Update
Thursday, 25 July 2013 12:01

Elmer's Island: Taken on April 12, 2013Elmer's Island, LA: Taken on April 12, 2013When it comes to the BP disaster, a big part of GRN's work is focused on ensuring BP is held accountable for restoring the Gulf's environment in the wake of this catastrophe. In part, that’s why we didn't weigh in sooner on the news stories popping up about BP’s attempt to wiggle out of their responsibility to compensate individuals and businesses for economic damages they suffered due to the oil disaster. However, it’s hard not to see these stories in the context of BP’s larger effort to minimize their responsibility for the damage they did (and are still doing) to the Gulf and its communities.

Back in March of last year, BP signed off on a settlement agreement for economic claims. Now, BP is calling into question the very claims process that it negotiated, and accusing Gulf residents and businesses of fraud. They are spending untold amounts of money trying to prove that people are making fraudulent claims, even setting up a hotline for this purpose. Yet, there is little evidence, if any, of widespread claims fraud.

Read more: BP Is Not Making It Right ** Update
 
Harry Lowenburg
Switching Gears is a Win/Win
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 15:52

topchef RSVP buttonLast year, I was just beginning as GRN’s new Gulf Fish Forever campaign organizer when I wrote an article for the summer issue of our newsletter, Gulf Currents. The three main points:

  • The Gulf of Mexico is the only known spawning grounds for the Western Atlantic bluefin tuna and because of overfishing, their numbers are dangerously low.
  • Because the BP oil disaster happened during their spawning season, their eggs and and larvae were oiled. It takes nine years for a bluefin larvae to reach spawning age and it could be generations before we know the damages done to the fishery by the oil and dispersants.
  • Longline fishing threatens the very fragile population of bluefin tuna and many of the 80+ other species killed as bycatch. More selective gear, such as Greenstick, exists that have much less bycatch.


This past year, I have come to know some of the Vietnamese American fishermen who run the 24 longline boats out of Dulac, Louisiana. These good, hard-working family men are doing their best to make a living. But between fewer fish to catch and increased costs of fuel and ice, these fishermen are being squeezed. They tell us that they are open to the possibility of switching gears if it is economically viable. But how do we make sure it’s economically viable?

Read more: Switching Gears is a Win/Win
 
Gilbert Ramseur
Gas Drilling Near Our Beaches Doesn't Make Sense
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:20

view from dauphin island by harold wright View of Gas Rigs From Dauphin Island, AL. by Harold WrightThere has been a lot of media coverage lately about drilling in the Gulf.  Over 3 years ago, the BP disaster began, releasing millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf. More recently, Mississippi’s Sun Herald has published a string of articles discussing oil and gas leases within 12 miles of the barrier islands. As the Sun Herald points out in this recent editorial against drilling around the islands, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution earlier this summer opposing oil and gas development within 12 miles of our barrier islands and national seashores. GRN whole-heartedly supports this position. Why? Because oil and gas development so near shore would increase risk to our environment and would also have aesthetic impacts on our beautiful coasts, which could lead to a decline in the state’s multibillion dollar tourism industry and a loss of many coastal jobs. 

A recent study by Datu Research LLC, points out that Wildlife Tourism, a 19 billion dollar industry, is an essential part of the economy on the Gulf coast. The coast has had a hard couple of years, first suffering the wrath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and then being covered in toxic crude oil after the BP oil disaster. These not only affected the economy, but also did significant damage to the natural ecosystem that it depends on… that WE depend on.  

Read more: Gas Drilling Near Our Beaches Doesn't Make Sense
 
Scott Eustis
Investors laugh at the idea of shipping new coal through the Gulf
Monday, 22 July 2013 16:03

With natural gas prices so low, and cost of coal pollution so high, it seems that burning coal in the U.S. doesn't make economic sense. In the Gulf region, coal proposals have been pushed through on the public dime. 

We've been watching the progress of our colleagues in the Northwest.  Unfortunately, we've been able to offer them examples of the serious pollution large piles of coal and petroleum coke for export can bring to their waters and their air. When Oregon wants to argue against coal exports, they use Louisiana as an example of how the coal industry treats its neighbors like second class citizens. 

But while the costs of coal terminals are apparent, the benefits are so much paper.  At three minues into this clip, financial forcasters at the Motley Fool laugh that Gulf coast coal terminals, expanded for the Asian market, will make any money (skip to 3 minutes in to see the discussion):

 

 

Read more: Investors laugh at the idea of shipping new coal through the Gulf
 
Aaron Viles
Stop the Alabama Beachfront Boondoggle
Tuesday, 16 July 2013 14:29

beachmousebutton3 years ago, the BP drilling disaster unleashed 4.1 million barrels of oil and nearly 2 million gallons of toxic dispersant into the Gulf. 2 years ago, BP promised to quickly spend $1 billion to begin to fix what their oil has done to our precious Gulf.

Unfortunately, some Gulf states are proposing to use early restoration dollars from this fund on projects which are less focused on restoring natural resources and more focused on traditional economic development. Tell the decision-makers in charge of early restoration to spend these dollars on restoring the Gulf's environment.

Some of our decision-makers are forgetting that environmental restoration IS economic restoration, and far too much of this money is being dedicated to projects that will actually cause more environmental harm.

Read more: Stop the Alabama Beachfront Boondoggle
 
Michelle Erenberg
How do you think Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) funds should be used?
Monday, 15 July 2013 11:08

ABM-photoendangered Alabama beach mouse - photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceTwo years ago BP promised $1 billion dollars of Early Restoration to kickstart the recovery of the natural resources damaged by their oil. Recently, the Gulf States have announced a new round of projects that they intend to fund with the Early Restoration dollars from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). In a departure from what seemed like a genuine dedication to investing these funds in true ecosystem restoration, the states announced a slate of projects that less focused on restoring natural resources and more focused on economic development

Read more: How do you think Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) funds should be used?
 
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