Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

 
Protect Louisiana's Scenic Rivers!
Protect Scenic Rivers like the Amite!

The Louisiana Senate will be voting on Senate Bill 132 within the next couple of hours. This bill would change the Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act to allow unlimited dreding and clearing in some of our Scenic Rivers, including the Amite River, Pearl River, Tchefuncte River, Bogue Falaya River, Abita River, Comite River, and Bayou Manchac.

Dredging and clearing can increase flooding. As this bill is written, the state would not be allowed to evaluate and reject proposals that would damage property, public assets like bridges and roads, and the wildlife that depend on our Scenic Rivers. This is bad bill that seeks to solve a problem that doesn't exist. In fact, during the House hearing, no situation in which scenic streams permitting had been a problem could be cited

Simple changes to the current bill could maintain the process to properly address permit applications with the information needed to make the assessment and decision.

Call on...

 
Lower Pearl River swamp from the air
Lower Pearl River Swamp from the air. Bonny Schumaker/On Wings of Care.

In the lower Pearl River system of Mississippi and Louisiana, where the river forms the state boundary, there are long-awaited positive things happening. Approved and funded projects to study and restore river function and improve coastal habitats near the Pearl’s mouth are under way or planned in both states. This is why the news of a proposed new dam and lake project upstream in Jackson is so disheartening. The river is finally receiving some restoration attention at its lower end, and unfortunately but predictably, a private/public partnership is about to unveil plans for building another dam on it in Jackson which will make river management more complicated downstream. The Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District is sponsoring and studying the “One Lake” project, and the non-profit Pearl River Vision Foundation is raising private and public money for environmental impact studies, and running political interference for the project...

 

Clean water is not a partisan issue. Along with clean air and soil, water is a necessity for our communities, commerce and literally all life. Regretfully the Trump administration believes that laws enacted to protect our water from sewage, lead, mercury and other pollutants may be ‘burdensome.’ What they mean is they are considering putting money before health and environment.

Responding to Executive Order 13777, the Environmental Protection Agency is asked the public to give feedback on regulations “that could be repealed, replaced, or modified to make them less burdensome.”

Our response is that clean water is not a burden and we must retain the EPA protections that preserve our health, communities, industries, municipalities, families, recreation, and wildlife. This this sentiment has been echoed by tens of thousands of people responding to EPA’s request. This includes 1,330 of our e-supporters that told EPA to...

 

In October of 2014 the Mississippi Phosphates Company in Pascagoula declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company left 700 million gallons of acidic, contaminated wastewater at the site. Every inch of rain creates an additional 9 million gallons of contaminated wastewater.

The facility is only capable of treating less than 2 million gallons a day of the contaminated wastewater, which is then released to Bayou Casotte and the Gulf of Mexico. On February 11, 2017 the EPA took over responsibility for wastewater treatment and control of the abandoned gypsum stacks. Taxpayers are now paying the bill for maintenance of this toxic site. The fear of another large fish kill is ever present. Radioactive contamination, heavy metals and contaminated groundwater also remain.

How could a company be allowed to create such a huge hazard to the waters of Bayou Casotte, the Grand Bay NEER Reserve and the Gulf of Mexico? The failure of State and Federal...

 

Name: Troy Alfonso 

Hometown: Wood Lake, Louisiana

Parish: St. Bernard

Louisiana loses a football field worth of its coastal wetlands every hour. Few know this as well as the fishermen whose work depends on the Gulf’s waters and the residents who inhabit the frontlines. They live with the knowledge that sea level rise, coastal erosion, and intensified storms threaten their homes and their way of life. In the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, our state has proposed “nonstructural” options for responding to these threats, including resources for voluntary buyouts from their homes and assistance with floodproofing and elevation. According to the state of Louisiana, if an area would flood more than 14 feet during a 100 year storm event, that area is deemed an unsafe and not resilient community. The state calls these areas “Resettlement Zones.” To ensure that communities are prepared for the future and understand where predicted Resettlement Zones...

 

Update: Great news! Rep. Richmond responded to all of your calls and emails by sending the Corps a letter asking for an Environmental Impact Statement for the Bayou Bridge pipeline. You can thank him for sending the letter here

The Bayou Bridge pipeline, which is one of the largest pipelines ever proposed in Louisiana, would snake through 11 parishes, destroy flood-buffering wetlands, risk drinking water sources for hundreds of thousands of people, and impact historic African-American communities that are already bearing the burden of decades of pollution and industrial development.

You have led the resistance against Bayou Bridge at public hearings, events and through thousands of letters and phone calls. We need to keep up the fight!

If you live in Representative Cedric Richmond's district, take action to tell him to not let the Army Corps rubberstamp Bayou Bridge.

The state of Louisiana recently issued Bayou Bridge’s coastal use...

 

It’s been a minute since we updated where GRN is in the fight to stop the Bayou Bridge pipeline. This is the largest proposed pipeline we have seen in Louisiana in years and it is meeting massive resistance from people all over the state.

The Coastal Use permit for Bayou Bridge has been issued by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). GRN and partners filed a "request for reconsideration" with the state because, as we’ve stated before, this pipeline clearly impacts our coast. Last week, that request was denied.

This is a big disappointment, but it’s not over.

In order to move forward, the Bayou Bridge pipeline also needs permission from the Army Corps to fill in the 600+ acres of wetlands along it’s route. This permission comes in the form of a 404 Wetland Permit. At this time, the Army Corps can do one of three things:

  • Grant
  • ...
 

Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) recently authored H.R. 2023, a bill known as “The Modern Fisheries Act”- but is quite the opposite. The bill rolls back many of the fishery protections that we've relied on for the past 4 decades.

Conservation efforts under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which is the main federal law overseeing our fisheries, have brought back over 40 species of fish from collapse. Over 50 more species are in the process of rebuilding. Frequently consumed fish such as black sea bass, red grouper and summer flounder have seen complete recoveries after a lack of management led to their collapse in the first place.

The Modern Fisheries Act ironically takes a step back in time by eliminating some of the most crucial components of successful management, such as annual catch limits, in order to appease small private interest groups. Let Congress know that you will not stand for this.
...

 

Mike's 33 lb. Flathead catfish April 2017

Mike Blackwell of McHenry Ms. , a passionate advocate for Red Creek, passed away on May first after emergency heart surgery. In his 7 decades of time on earth he explored and fished on Red Creek for more than 50 years. In his retirement, he lived in his camp on the Creek in Jackson County and split his time among trot-line fishing for flathead catfish, helping renovate creek camps for his friends and family, and organizing his neighbors to petition the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to identify and remedy the sediment problem on Red Creek that comes from incompatible land uses and wetland destruction caused by an upstream recreation business.  Mike lived more than 10 miles downstream from the source of sediment and runoff, but expressed to me more than once that the layers of mud that now coat the sandbars on the Creek down near his camp were...

 

Name: Anitra Woods 

GRN Partner OrganizationBayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO)

Hometown: Thibodaux, Louisiana

Parish: Lafourche

At the rate of a football field per hour, Louisiana’s coast is rapidly vanishing. Residents in our coastal parishes stand firm on the frontlines. They live with the knowledge that sea level rise, coastal erosion, and intensified storms threaten their homes and their way of life. In the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, our state has proposed “nonstructural” options for responding to these threats, including resources for voluntary buyouts from their homes and assistance with floodproofing and elevation. According to the state of Louisiana, if an area would flood more than 14 feet during a 100 year storm event, that area is deemed an unsafe and not resilient community. The state calls these areas “Resettlement Zones.” To ensure that communities are prepared for the future and understand where predicted Resettlement Zones will be,...

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