Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

 

“Put our oil workers back to work, cleaning up the mess that by law these oil companies need to clean up”

WTUL interviewed Cherri Foytlin of Idle No More Gulf Coast and Bridge the Gulf at the New Lease on Life rally and demonstration. Foytlin and about 300 allies disrupted the announcements of lease sales in the Offshore Gulf of Mexico. Bids for leasing these public lands for drilling are at their lowest levels in decades, and the industry is drilling in deeper and deeper water without any new regulations from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Cherri spoke to us of her vision for just transition and her concerns of lacking a future for her children.
“Louisiana can power this nation…we need to do it in a way that works with the systems of Mother Earth.”
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From sea level rise and extreme storms fueled by climate change, to coastal erosion, to frequent spills and accidents, the Gulf of Mexico and the people who live here are on the frontline of the impacts from the oil and gas industry. For too long, the Gulf has been treated like the nation’s energy sacrifice zone – enough is enough! 

On Wednesday, March 23, the Obama administration is holding an offshore lease sale in the Superdome where it will be selling 43 million acres of the Gulf’s water to oil and gas companies. I will be joining citizens outside the Superdome to call for an end to new offshore leases in the Gulf. Can you join me? 

What: New Lease on Life: A Historic Call for an End to New Offshore Drilling Leases in the Gulf of Mexico
Where: Begins at Duncan Plaza (343 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA...

 

Dr. Bob Bullard: Father of Environmental Justice

For years, I have worked as a community organizer in the Gulf – and am currently the Mississippi Organizer for Gulf Restoration Network. After years of working alongside coastal communities, I was recently appointed to a workgroup for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). NEJAC is an advisory council that meets to ensure that communities have meaningful input on environmental justice issues.

It’s a fact: poor people and people of color are more likely to live and work on the frontlines of pollution, toxic industry and environmental destruction.

For decades, these communities – the ones that are routinely targeted to host facilities and infrastructure with harmful environmental impacts – have been fighting for the health and safety of their neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and parks. Today, we call this important work Environmental Justice; but even...

 

Here in New Orleans, food is often a focal point of our locale and culture. More specifically, we are known for fresh, delicious seafood harvested as close as 50 miles from Bourbon Street. On March 10th, 2016, for the first time ever, the biennial Slow Fish International gathering was held in North America, and I think attendees would agree that the Big Easy was the perfect place to meet.

Attendees met each day in a new venue that encompassed the spirit of New Orleans. We shared stories, taught each other about what we are doing in our communities to create a better environment for the consumers, fisherman, and fish alike.

Fisherman and chefs that were attending the conference provided meals for the group each afternoon and evening, which was a real treat.

I presented on Saturday,...

 

Almost every time we fly over Breton Sound, we find new leaks that no one knows about. Last year, we flew over Cox Bay en route to Mardi Gras Pass, and saw the telling rainbow sheen flowing from a typical rusted, unprotected facility and into the marshes on both sides of the canal. It was large enough that Jon and Adam from the Suffers were even able to snap pics with their phones--but no one was hired on site to tell the company that their money maker had become a liability for our coast. 

When we spot a rainbow sheen on the water, whether from a facility like this one, BOPCO, or from mysterious bubbles that usually indicate a ruptured  gas pipeline, we have to search government databases to find an "RP," or Responsible Party, before we call the Coast Guard National Response...

 

It's been more than 11 years since Taylor Energy's series of wells at MC20 started leaking, and a few years since the company ended its attempts at drilling relief wells. Clean Water advocates have been able to force Taylor Energy to present some information on their leak. Just recently, Taylor held a secluded meeting on LSU campus where questioners were asked to leave. Because Taylor is not forthcoming with information about the spill, we are left to analyze what little is given in daily reports.

What data we have on this spill have only been produced because of the actions of citizen advocates like Skytruth, GRN, On Wings of Care, and Waterkeepers.

Taylor's neglect is oiling some of our most fertile Gulf habitat and most productive fishing grounds. The shelf is home to Sperm Whales and dolphins, pelagic birds, shrimp, crab,...

 
Phosphorus Delivery to the Gulf
Phosphorus delivered to theGulf of Mexico. Courtesy of USGS

Tackling the Dead Zone isn't an easy task. About 40% of the continental United States drains into the Mississippi River, and regretfully with all that water comes a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. This is the pollution that causes the Gulf Dead Zone. 

With such a large drainage area it is a constant struggle to prioritize where pollution reduction efforts need to happen. However, one area is pretty obvious. The United States Geological Service (USGS) determined that Chicago is the largest contributor of phosphorus pollution to the Gulf.

While the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) did actually add limits on phosphorus pollution in their 2013 discharge permit, the science showed that the limits were not strong enough. So, Natural Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, Friends of the Chicago River and GRN were forced to legally challenge the...

 

“We’re really not in a position to discuss investment advice,” Mr. Pecue, sole employee of Taylor Energy. 

During a coastal chat on 91.5fm, James Hartwell and Scott Eustis renewable energy and the Taylor Energy leak and the company's reluctance to disclose any information about environmental impact.

James Hartwell reveals the secret of the eternal leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the Taylor Energy disaster. Although the company was forced to present information on its 11-year leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the meeting spurred more questions than answers. Lt Gen Russel Honore of the GreenArmy, a statewide environmental movement in Louisiana, excused himself after a Taylor representative threatened to shut down the meeting after the General asked questions concerning the environmental impacts of the oil.  [program starts at 3min]

Scott Eustis is GRN's Coastal Wetland Specialist

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Hands Across the SandThis week marks the official launch of Hands Across the Sand 2016, an international day of action to say “NO” to dirty fossil fuels and “YES” to clean energy. On May 21, people across the world will be joining hands to draw a line in the sand against threats to their communities like offshore drilling, fracking and climate change causing pollution.

If you’re interested in finding an event near you or organizing your own event, click here. It’s your opportunity to join your neighbors and demand a clean and safe future for all.   

This is Hand Across the Sand’s 6th year. With threats like the impending offshore drilling lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts to open up the Mid-Atlantic seaboard to offshore leasing and production, it is more important than ever that we take a...

 

VICTORY! On Tuesday, February 16th, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama barred the state of Alabama and federal trustees from using $58.5 million of Early Natural Resource Damage funds from the BP oil disaster to construct a hotel and convention center in Alabama’s Gulf State Park. This is a big win for the Gulf and our communities, and the Gulf Restoration Network couldn’t be happier.

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