Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 11:18am
The watershed of the Mississippi River. Photo: NOAA

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we dug deep into the GRN archives to compile our 20 most important victories of the past two decades. In this first installment, we’re highlighting our first five major victories, which span from 1995 to 2006.

#1: Action on the Dead Zone
1995
GRN groups petitioned EPA to take Dead Zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution seriously and to form an Interstate Management Conference regarding the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. While the petition was rejected, it served as a catalyst for the formation of the Dead Zone Task Force.
 

Photo: GRN

#2: Protecting Mississippi’s Coastal Wetlands
1998
In 1998, GRN began to work to prevent casino developments in Mississippi’s fragile wetlands by hosting a tour of development projects for officials. Eventually, GRN and the Gulf Islands Conservancy filed suit on the issue, and ultimately obtained a federal...

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 2:40pm
GRN meets with Vicksburg Corps on Jackson Pearl Lake Plan
Jackson Ms, Pearl River "One Lake" Flood Control Plan

Gulf Restoration Network requested a meeting with the Vicksburg District Corps staff to ask about the status of the WRDA Section 211 flood control (lake) project on the Pearl River. We wanted to discuss the project and ask questions about the process since a local sponsor, and not the Vicksburg Corps, is doing all the planning and study work. The project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Feasibility Study (FS) are being finalized now. The Vicksburg Corps staff also invited the sponsors of the project to the meeting, so on November 6th, the Hinds Rankin Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District (local sponsors) attended our Corps meeting with their Board president, attorney and consulting engineer. It was a helpful meeting, with fairly free and candid discussion.

A local sponsor conducting a flood control infrastructure project under Section 211 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA 2007) is a bit...

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 1:56pm
Tell EPA: I'm For Clean Water!

Tell EPA: I’m For Clean Water!

Yesterday at the Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority Meeting, much of the meeting was focused on the Clean Water Rule that EPA and the Corps of Engineers have proposed. This rule is designed to clarify terms, specifically what constitutes a “Water of the United States,” that deserves Clean Water Act protections. For more background on the rule, go here.

While the Clean Water Rule would ensure protection for fragile waterways and wetlands that grant us flood protection, wildlife habitat, and water filtration, the CPRA passed a resolution opposing this rule. The rhetoric being produced made it seem like this rule would slow down or even halt coastal restoration. This is simply not true.

The proposed rule will not impact coastal restoration. Waters in Louisiana's Coastal Zone have always been under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act,...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 1:48pm

Our coastal forests are at risk. The biggest threat to forests across the South is the expanding biomass industry that is leveling trees at a rate that is impossible for these forests to sustain. Our beautiful forests are being clear-cut, processed into pellets, and then shipped to Europe to be burned for electricity. Today, GRN is taking part in a National Day of Action to oppose the biomass industry that threatens forests across the South.

Our forests aren’t fuel. Please take action today.

Today, November 13th, as the wood products industry meets in Chesapeake, VA, people from across the U.S. are coming together for a National Day of Action to send an SOS to Save Our Southern forests. With 20 existing wood pellet facilities, and 33 more proposed, now is the time to increase pressure on corporate executives and EU policymakers.

Join us today, and send an...

Friday, November 7, 2014 - 4:52pm
Kinder Morgan's flooded International Marine Terminal

The recent discoveries of petcoke in wetland reclamation projects have revived conversation about the importance of coastal restoration and raised further questions regarding Louisiana’s commitment to its Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. Although ‘black stuff’ should obviously not be found so close to freshly-formed ‘green stuff,’ it’s likely many individuals may lack familiarity with petcoke as a whole.

A byproduct of the oil refining process, petroleum coke (also known as petcoke or pet coke) is stockpiled onsite or moved to centralized holding facilities after it’s produced. As global coal markets have shifted over the years though, what was previously seen as a waste product is now sourcing cheap energy production, both overseas and here in the United States. Naturally, the low cost of petcoke reflects its inherent dirtiness. That is, burning a ton of petcoke releases just over 50% more CO2 emissions than burning the same amount of coal. Like coal, it also contains heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can be harmful to human and ecosystem health.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 2:49pm
Leaking rig and platforms

After the BP disaster, the President’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling recommended improvements needed to increase the safety of offshore drilling. Reporter David Hammer of WWLTV recently discovered that a training center -- touted as central to the federal government's efforts to improve offshore drilling safety after the 2010 BP disaster – never really got off the ground. Why? Hostility to reforms by Gulf of Mexico regulators – sadly no one at GRN finds this surprising. There has always been a too cozy relationship between regulators and the oil and gas industry and a resistance to holding the industry accountable. So, despite the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, the regulatory agency in charged with oversight of the industry is returning to business as usual.  

Check out David Hammer’s piece here

Cyn Sarthou is GRN's Executive Director. 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 1:21pm

GRN Board member Jerald White, Community Advocate and Founder of the New Orleans Loving Festival, receives 2014 USA Characters Unite Award from USA Network and Cox Communications.

Jerald was one of 10 recipients of a 2014 USA Characters Unite Award, selected for their extraordinary efforts to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination, and making significant contributions to promote greater tolerance, respect and acceptance in their communities.

Jerald’s award stems from his creation of the New Orleans Loving Festival, a multicultural community celebration and film festival that challenges racism through outreach and education. Since 2010, he has coordinated a wide variety of programs including workshops on undoing racism, art exhibitions, literary events, concerts, comedy shows, film screenings, youth activities, and other events to increase visibility and support for multiracial individuals, and community efforts to fight racism. Under his leadership, the Loving Festival has become a unique platform for showcasing the efforts...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 1:17pm
Rise Against
Rise Against performing at Voodoo

Whew, what a whirlwind Halloween weekend at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience! This was Gulf Restoration Network’s 8th year partnering with the festival to elevate the restoration of the Gulf and Louisiana’s coast, and it was a roaring success (and good time).  

At GRN’s booth, our volunteers and staffers talked to festivalgoers about restoring the coast – getting people involved as sustaining members and through our “No Coast, No Music” Photobooth. Thanks to Defend New Orleans for donating t-shirts and Woody’s Fish Tacos for donating tacos for our sustaining members, and thanks to everyone who participated.

We also got some of the amazing musicians playing the festival in on the fun. In partnership with Southwings, we took the members of Rise Against on a flyover of Louisiana’s coast to give them a birds-eye view of our disappearing...

Friday, October 31, 2014 - 1:35pm

Louisiana’s scenic rivers are facing a new threat. Companies including Comstock Energy, LLC, have applied to extract water from the Amite River, threatening the river and those that depend on it by increasing pollution and lowering the flow.

Tell the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to defend our scenic rivers!

Comstock wants to alter our scenic rivers. Extraction would mean that a river protected under the Scenic Rivers Act for wilderness, swimming and fishing could be made shallow and dry. The LDWF needs to enforce the law and demand that Comstock adhere to the legal protections afforded to the Amite.

Take action today and tell the LDWF to protect the Amite.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 4:58pm
Pearl Jam at Voodoo 2013
Pearl Jam at Voodoo 2013

What eldritch horrors gather in City Park in New Orleans as Halloween approaches? The 2014 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience!  

GRN is proud to once again be a nonprofit partner of this great three-day festival. If you’re attending, stop by our booth and join in our “No Coast, No Culture” campaign. Throughout the weekend we'll be asking Voodoo artist and festivalgoers to get involved with restoring the Gulf and Louisiana's coast. You can get in on the action right now by signing your pledge to stand with the Gulf.  

Our longtime supporters at Defend New Orleans have designed a new GRN shirt to reveal at this year’s Voodoo Experience. Monthly givers who sign up at the festival get this special edition tee, so look for us—we’ll be easy to find.

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