Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 4:16pm

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...

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 11:49am

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.

Friday, February 12, 2016 - 3:49pm
MMNS Aquarium Jackson Mississippi
MMNS Aquarium

Gulf Restoration Network and other NGO groups have repeatedly made the point that restoration money spent on addressing coastal water quality problems is an investment in the economy.

When Governor Bryant announced a group of ten projects slated for Restore Act funding in December of 2015, he reportedly said the following about the coastal streams restoration component of the plan:  “What goes into the Gulf Coast begins in the steams north of here; we will make sure to the best of our ability that it is clean and safe. We believe this will reduce the number of times we have to close the beaches. So, in fact, it will positively affect the tourism economy here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
The Governor himself made this connection between the tourism economy and the quality of the water on the beaches. In our recent comments about these projects, we stated: “If more...

Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 2:30pm

Elevated home to help protect against flooding. Photo courtesy of Louisiana Sea Grant College Program Louisiana State University.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita taught many of us just how important protecting our communities from flooding is to our safety - not just during a storm, but every day. Over the next month, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) will be holding a series of 4 “Community Conversations on the Flood Risk and Resilience Program” across the state. These conversations will inform that state’s 2017 Coastal Master Plan, so it’s important that CPRA hear from the citizens who are most at risk of flooding and impacted by coastal land loss. Unfortunately, CPRA hasn’t done very much to let people know about these “community conversations.” Here is a list of the meetings:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 16, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Lafitte Multi-Purpose Center, 4917 City Park Drive Lafitte, LA
  • Wednesday, Feb
  • ...
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 1:45pm

This blog is written by Maryvonne Devensky, chairperson of the Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club. She is a lifelong advocate for environmental education and resident of Florida for nearly 30 years. Gulf Restoration Network is proud to call the Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club a partner in our efforts to stop the Sabal Trail pipeline.

A year ago, I became the chairperson of the Florida Suwannee-St Johns Sierra Club (SSJ). SSJ has members covering 15 counties from Suwannee, Hamilton, Baker, down to Marion, Citrus and Levy. When I moved to Florida in 1979 it seemed that the state was on the brink of a solar revolution. Over the years I’ve seen this momentum diminish, and recently natural gas has threatened the state's renewable energy future. I’m not dead yet, and until then I’m going to fight for Florida’s next generation.

In November Johanna de Graffenreid, of Gulf Restoration Network, contacted...

Friday, January 29, 2016 - 1:44pm
Rainbow sheen from Taylor Energy leak

Taylor Energy Company was once one of the largest offshore operators in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, it employs exactly one individual. This sea change arose from the death of its founder, but also because of a dirty (not-so?) little secret.

That secret was revealed in 2010, when satellites captured daily oil sheens near ‘Ground Zero’ of the BP disaster. GRN and others responded to Skytruth’s discovery with monitoring trips by sea and air. But beyond these observations, little information about the oil’s source was available.

Environmental groups in the Waterkeeper Alliance filed a lawsuit to break the silence, eventually reaching a settlement this past year. The court mandated the release of many confidential documents, and for Taylor to hold a public forum to elaborate on the leak.

Taylor held its forum at LSU last Wednesday. I traveled to Baton Rouge to witness and report...

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 10:17am

Taylor Energy SpillYesterday, Taylor Energy, the company responsible for a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, held a public meeting to disclose details of the chronic spill. Taylor Energy was required to host this public, daylong hearing as a result of a court settlement with environmental groups.

The leak began in 2004, when Hurricane Ivan toppled a platform owned by Taylor Energy. Eleven years later, oil is still leaking from the site, and the company claims nothing can be done to stop it. It is estimated that since 2004 between 300,000 and 1.4 million gallons of oil have spilled from the site into the Gulf of Mexico.

At a time when decision-makers and oil companies are looking to expand drilling off the Atlantic coast, what is happening with Taylor Energy should be viewed as a cautionary tale. This ongoing...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 4:57pm

Protect Our Coast

Last week, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as Louisiana’s new governor. We know that being governor in Louisiana is not an easy job - however, our state needs true leadership on restoring our coasts and communities.

Join us in calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to be a coastal leader for Louisiana.

On the campaign trail, Governor Edwards committed to making coastal restoration a “national priority worthy of funding." We appreciate this commitment, however, for too long, Louisiana state leaders have paid lip-service to coastal restoration while approving projects that further degrade our coasts and divert much needed funding.

The crisis facing coastal communities can not be ignored - tell Governor Edwards to protect our coasts and communities.

Louisiana is the state most impacted by the Gulf Dead Zone - an area of low to no oxygen...

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 3:04pm
Drought seen in sub-Saharan Africa
Erratic precipitation emphasizes the need for evidence-based freshwater management

Water is wet, and essential to our fleshy existence. Freshwater reserves are unfortunately disappearing across the globe, compounding the threats posed by human-caused climate change.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) is underway in France, where Gulf South Rising’s delegation of frontline voices has been engaging with others most affected by climate inaction. These historic negotiations are set in ‘Le Bourget,’ a suburb of Paris. While the world’s elected officials and decision-makers convene here, other visitors are offered opportunities to attend various expert panels.

In our first trip to Le Bourget, I sat in on ‘Groundwater and Climate Change in the Sahara and Sahel Regions.’ From Tunisia and Chad, to Uganda and beyond, panelists shared insights on Africa’s dire situation.

In 2012, only two-thirds of the continent’s population had access to potable water. Within the sub-Saharan region, access is even lower. As climate change raises regional temperatures, it’s projected...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 11:33am

PipelineIn a surprising turn of events the Environmental Protection Agency has reversed its position on the Sabal Trail Pipeline. The 515 mile, $3.2 billion project will impact the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers, thousands of springs, the aquifer for the entire state of Florida, and several hundred of acres of wetlands. Will the EPA protect the drinking water for millions of Floridians or back down to industry pressure?

In October, the EPA wrote a scathing letter about the possible environmental impacts of the pipeline.   Less than two months later, EPA has dropped its objections, just before the Corps is slated to make a final decision on issuing the Clean Water Act permits required to build the project.  

The 180 that the Agency has taken is making us here at Gulf Restoration Network, and our partners in Florida, wonder what political strings must...

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