Dirty Energy on the Gulf Coast

This articles was excerpted from Gulf Currents, GRN’s quarterly newsletter. To read the rest of the December 2013 edition of Gulf Currents, click here.Oil on Grande Isle, LA following Tropical Storm Karen, October 8th, 2013. Photo Credit: Jonathan Henderson, GRN.As a region and a country, we are dependent on fossil fuels for energy and have been for generations. However, we do not have to look any further than our beaches and marshes to be reminded of the consequences of dirty energy. BP’s ads would have us believe that the Gulf is fine now, but the truth is that BP’s disaster continues to impact our communities and wildlife every day. It’s not just BP, though. Tar sands investors hope to pipe their product across America to Gulf refineries and ports and then overseas to market, opening our communities to the threatof spills. Faced with opposition to coal terminals and trains in other regions of the country, the coal industry is increasingly shifting to the Gulf region as a hub for exporting this dirty fuel to China and beyond.Coastal Louisiana is disappearing, and oil and gas production is part of the problem. The industry directly dredges through wetlands, sinks marshes by extracting fluid from underneath the earth, and allows saltwater from the Gulf into places where salt degrades marsh plants. And the burning of that oil, gas and coal over decades is what is to blame for today’s global warming, and the subsequent sea level rise that is drowning our wetlands.We can’t continue as we have in the past and expect to prosper. Our economy, quality of life, and culture depend on a healthy and thriving Gulf; one that includes industry, but also has healthy fisheries and wildlife, attractive beaches, and clean air and water.Fortunately, GRN is working to clean up dirty energy in the Gulf, and people across the region are waking up to the threat and joining the fight. Communities like Ironton, Louisiana, are organizing to block coal export terminals from ruining their health and homes. Battles over tar sands and pipelines have sprung up in Alabama and elsewhere. GRN is working with citizens in Mississippi and Florida to push back against expanded drilling in their backyards. And in a part of the country where too few politicians are willing to challenge the oil and gas industry, we continue to monitor industry activities, report their violations, and file lawsuits when necessary. It is hard work and we need your help. Learn more in this edition and join us.Steve Murchie is GRN’s Campaign Director.

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