Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
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?
Cathy Harrelson
Weeki Wachee is choked with slime
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 14:34

WeekiWacheeWeeki Wachee Spring and the Weeki Wachee River support a complex freshwater aquatic ecosystem that is vitally important as both a cultural and economic resource for Florida. Unfortunately, Florida’s iconic Mermaid Spring and its river to the Gulf are being choked by slimy algae. Take action now to protect Florida's rivers and streams.

High levels of nitrogen pollution are to blame for the explosion of algae blooms. As it stands now, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does not require major sources of this pollution to reduce their spring-killing effluent . It is beyond time for a mandate to preserve and protect these critical resources for all Floridians and to reverse the degradation of our most iconic treasures.

The DEP is accepting public comments through Friday, July 5th, on a draft plan to restore the Spring and River (this plan, required under the Clean Water Act, is known as a Total Maximum Daily Load, or “TMDL”). As it is written, this plan is not adequate, as it does not require pollution reduction from surrounding polluters, or even set a protective goal. Please take action now to let DEP and the Governor know you expect them to do their jobs and protect Florida’s resources!

Read more: Weeki Wachee is choked with slime
Aaron Viles
Galveston, Gulf Shores, Destin
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:37

Gulf beaches are going to be hopping this weekend, and all summer long.

My daughter loves the beach, and it's a favorite family destination.  I still remember the beach break that BP's drilling disaster forced on us in the summer of 2010.  BP stole an opportunity to make precious memories on our Gulf beaches.

There's an irony that because of BP's disaster, we are now faced with a historic opportunity to make sure our Gulf beaches are environmentally healthy and sustainable for decades to come.

While we don't know yet how much money BP will be sending to the Gulf via the RESTORE Act, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council is developing its comprehensive plan for Gulf Restoration.  The final day for public comment is Monday, July 8th, so please take a moment right now to send this clear message:

Ecosystem Restoration is Economic Recovery

We can't waste this opportunity on roads, parking lots, or convention centers.  If our plan prioritizes making the Gulf healthier, it will pay dividends for generations to come.  That way my daughter's children, and future generations can continue to love our Gulf coast beaches.  

Send your message before you head out to Grand Isle, Ship Island, Orange Beach, Greyton Beach (or where ever you are spending your July 4th holiday).

Aaron Viles is GRN's Deputy Director. You can follow him on twitter here.

P.S. Of course, we're focused on the possibility of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, and their eventual use of the fines and penalties flowing from the BP disaster, but there are other important considerations in how you spend your time at the beach.  NRDC's popular and useful, Testing the Waters report lets you know how your beach is doing on water pollution.  Check it out here.

Also this local news story shows that there are ongoing BP tarballs easily found at Gulf coast beaches.  Be safe out there folks.

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Page 9 of 98

BP's Oil Drilling Disaster - Take Action

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