Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 2:05pm

Mayor Landrieu speaking. 

On Friday, June 3rd, members of the GRN staff attended a half-day workshop within the State of the Gulf Conference entitled Restoration on the Half-Shelf: Presentations in Non-Technical Language. 

Organized by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana  (CRCL), The Water Institute of the Gulf, and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA), the new program offered a general history of Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts along with a discussion of current progress and future plans. Broken up into two panels, the first session highlighted the dangers and risks posed by the current land loss crisis while the second session focused on possible community and administrative action. 

To begin the panel discussion “Louisiana’s Coastal Land Loss Crisis,” David Muth, the Director of the Gulf Restoration Program in Louisiana for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), highlighted the various ways in which the...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 10:47am

At the end of April, strong storms hit the city of Gulfport causing the mayor to declare a state of emergency. Over 140 homes flooded, and first responders, including two five-ton trucks and three swift water rescue teams, stayed busy rescuing people from homes and businesses. This was a strong storm, but the kind of storm we expect regularly in the Gulf. 

Much of the flooding was predictable and avoidable. Unfortunately, the City of Gulfport has a history of dangerous developmental practices, including filling in wetlands. This practice allows the cheapest path for development, providing profits for developers at a huge cost to residents and first responders.  Gulfport relies on gravity drainage, but April’s rains showed the vulnerability of the city’s drainage and stormwater handling system. Existing wetlands need to be left in place in areas of the city where foreseeable flood risks are...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 11:32am

This guest blog post was written by Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics. The mission of Earth Ethics is to educate the public and increase awareness about environmental and social issues at local, regional, and global levels in an effort to engage, empower, and encourage public involvement towards positive resolutions.

 

I have always been fascinated by the term “the bible belt”. Apparently there are several bible belts throughout the U.S.  At 515 miles long, through three southern states, I’m sure that the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline runs through at least one of them. Before I ask what does it mean to stand up to Sabal Trail, I have to ask- What does it mean to be a Christian?  I ask because, as a Christian myself, aren’t we supposed to be living our lives based on the scripture and the teachings of Christ? Do we get to pick and...

Monday, June 13, 2016 - 11:49am

Since last month's deep leak and weak response in Green Canyon, we've been wondering what other shoes are yet to drop.  In 2004, Shell Offshore Inc. touted the "cost-effective" pipeline placement method in Glider field as the new "standard". What other places may have been compromised in the rush to "cost-effectiveness"? The Gulf has over 1000 miles of suspect pipe in its depths.

Using data from BOEM's website, we created an interactive map of Shell-affiliated pipelines deeper than 400m in the Gulf. One of Shell's companies, Shell Offshore Inc., has over 1600 Kilometers (~1000 miles) of deep pipeline sprawling across the Gulf floor. 


 

Check out Skytruth's map for platforms in the Gulf.  Click on the lines and platforms to learn more.

We know that every deep leak affects Corals, Whales, Birds and other Wildlife--so it's...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 12:26pm
Atchafalaya Swamp Cypress Tupelo

Here at GRN, we have some pretty amazing friends. Last month, one of our friends, Dean Wilson of Atchafalaya Baskinkeeper, took us on a boat trip through the Atchafalaya Swamp. The Atchafalaya is beautiful, and we couldn’t have asked for a sunnier day to enjoy all the swamp has to offer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 11:37am
City of Stennis Wetland Restoration
Chrissy Schuengel and Andrew inspect the back-filled and replanted canal

Chrissy Schuengel lived on Bayou LaCroix road in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for more than twenty years and had never seen her back yard flood severely during normal rainfall. That changed in 2007 when Hancock County Development LLC began cutting drainage canals through land north of her property line and interfering with the natural drainage patterns on the adjoining forested wetlands. Without any permits, the development company began transforming a wet pine savanna by cutting canals and ditches, aimed to drain and develop parcels for the “City of Stennis” - a mixed residential and office project.

After these drainage alterations, ordinary rainfall events now produced a wall of water, inundating yards and pastures in Chrissy’s rural community. Chrissy asked for help from Gulf Restoration Network regarding the unpermitted wetland destruction. In 2007, the Corps of Engineers ordered the developers to stop digging and Gulf Restoration Network partnered with Tulane Environmental Law...

Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 10:27am

The oil and gas industry is responsible for significant damage to Louisiana’s coast and wetlands. Damage from industry exploration and production has caused ongoing extreme wetland loss in Louisiana, toxic oil disasters and, of course, more frequent storms and sea level rise.

Gulf Restoration Network is standing with our partners at Louisiana Environmental Action Network to call for accountability from the oil and gas industry – join us!

Despite public outcry, the oil and gas industry continues to fight against taking responsibility for the damage it has caused to Louisiana’s coast and wetlands. Now, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, Plaquemines Parish, Jefferson Parish and Cameron Parish have filed lawsuits to force oil and gas companies to fix the damage they caused to our coasts.

Take action now to hold the oil and gas industry accountable!

...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 7:45pm

 

At GRN, We review thousands of wetland permit requests every year. We can only comment on the worst -- the largest harm to restoration, and unjust impacts to communities. You, our members, know more about the land around you.

Public agencies must uphold the public trust. They should know about a wetland before it's filled or cut, and we need you to call and email them with your local knowledge. Experience tells us that too often, powerful companies weigh more in the minds of public agencies than the public interest. But the government does consider local information in their decisions. Change--the best change--does come from below. 

There are "public notices" on proposed permits each week. These notices are rarely accessible to the public--obscure websites and the tiny print of the classifieds bury them.  

We believe that the people most affected by a decision should have the most say in that decision. Our goal is to...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 5:04pm

Keep it in Ground
Marching to the New Orleans Superdome to call for No New Leases on March 23, 2016.

The Obama administration recently released its plans to drill in the Gulf for the next 5 years - spelling disaster for the Gulf and for the climate. The plan includes up to ten more lease sales over the next five years, further opening the Gulf’s communities and environment to the risk of accidents, spills and catastrophes like the BP drilling disaster.
 
We still have a chance to remove all new leases in the Gulf from the plan before it is finalized. We are sending President Obama a strong message: Gulf residents adamantly oppose any and all new offshore leasing. Can you join us a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hearing near you to protect the...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 11:37am
Turkey Vultures in Tree
Turkey Vultures by focusshoot, via Creative Commons, unaltered

This month, the Mississippi Legislature wrapped up one of the most acrimonious regular sessions of the past few years. The fighting, arguing and ugliness were open and constant, and the state is a little more broke at the end of the session than when it started. The majority proudly passed and enacted tax cuts even while state revenues trended down. The Governor and leaders in the House and Senate are unapologetic about the results which promise added financial strain for state agencies, health care, and public schools and universities during the next fiscal year. 

This year’s regular session was probably also a dress rehearsal for the special session that Governor Bryant is likely to call during the summer, when $150 million - the first installment of the BP economic damage settlement - is paid to the state of Mississippi.

This economic damage money is just one of many different categories of the...

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