Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 4:04pm

Here in New Orleans, food is often a focal point of our locale and culture. More specifically, we are known for fresh, delicious seafood harvested as close as 50 miles from Bourbon Street. On March 10th, 2016, for the first time ever, the biennial Slow Fish International gathering was held in North America, and I think attendees would agree that the Big Easy was the perfect place to meet.

Attendees met each day in a new venue that encompassed the spirit of New Orleans. We shared stories, taught each other about what we are doing in our communities to create a better environment for the consumers, fisherman, and fish alike.

Fisherman and chefs that were attending the conference provided meals for the group each afternoon and evening, which was a real treat.

I presented on Saturday,...

Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 11:45am

Almost every time we fly over Breton Sound, we find new leaks that no one knows about. Last year, we flew over Cox Bay en route to Mardi Gras Pass, and saw the telling rainbow sheen flowing from a typical rusted, unprotected facility and into the marshes on both sides of the canal. It was large enough that Jon and Adam from the Suffers were even able to snap pics with their phones--but no one was hired on site to tell the company that their money maker had become a liability for our coast. 

When we spot a rainbow sheen on the water, whether from a facility like this one, BOPCO, or from mysterious bubbles that usually indicate a ruptured  gas pipeline, we have to search government databases to find an "RP," or Responsible Party, before we call the Coast Guard National Response...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 5:44pm

It's been more than 11 years since Taylor Energy's series of wells at MC20 started leaking, and a few years since the company ended its attempts at drilling relief wells. Clean Water advocates have been able to force Taylor Energy to present some information on their leak. Just recently, Taylor held a secluded meeting on LSU campus where questioners were asked to leave. Because Taylor is not forthcoming with information about the spill, we are left to analyze what little is given in daily reports.

What data we have on this spill have only been produced because of the actions of citizen advocates like Skytruth, GRN, On Wings of Care, and Waterkeepers.

Taylor's neglect is oiling some of our most fertile Gulf habitat and most productive fishing grounds. The shelf is home to Sperm Whales and dolphins, pelagic birds, shrimp, crab,...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 2:05pm
Phosphorus Delivery to the Gulf
Phosphorus delivered to theGulf of Mexico. Courtesy of USGS

Tackling the Dead Zone isn't an easy task. About 40% of the continental United States drains into the Mississippi River, and regretfully with all that water comes a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. This is the pollution that causes the Gulf Dead Zone. 

With such a large drainage area it is a constant struggle to prioritize where pollution reduction efforts need to happen. However, one area is pretty obvious. The United States Geological Service (USGS) determined that Chicago is the largest contributor of phosphorus pollution to the Gulf.

While the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) did actually add limits on phosphorus pollution in their 2013 discharge permit, the science showed that the limits were not strong enough. So, Natural Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, Friends of the Chicago River and GRN were forced to legally challenge the...

Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 7:23pm

“We’re really not in a position to discuss investment advice,” Mr. Pecue, sole employee of Taylor Energy. 

During a coastal chat on 91.5fm, James Hartwell and Scott Eustis renewable energy and the Taylor Energy leak and the company's reluctance to disclose any information about environmental impact.

James Hartwell reveals the secret of the eternal leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the Taylor Energy disaster. Although the company was forced to present information on its 11-year leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the meeting spurred more questions than answers. Lt Gen Russel Honore of the GreenArmy, a statewide environmental movement in Louisiana, excused himself after a Taylor representative threatened to shut down the meeting after the General asked questions concerning the environmental impacts of the oil.  [program starts at 3min]

Scott Eustis is GRN's Coastal Wetland Specialist

 ...

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...

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