Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Friday, January 29, 2016 - 1:44pm
Rainbow sheen from Taylor Energy leak

Taylor Energy Company was once one of the largest offshore operators in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, it employs exactly one individual. This sea change arose from the death of its founder, but also because of a dirty (not-so?) little secret.

That secret was revealed in 2010, when satellites captured daily oil sheens near ‘Ground Zero’ of the BP disaster. GRN and others responded to Skytruth’s discovery with monitoring trips by sea and air. But beyond these observations, little information about the oil’s source was available.

Environmental groups in the Waterkeeper Alliance filed a lawsuit to break the silence, eventually reaching a settlement this past year. The court mandated the release of many confidential documents, and for Taylor to hold a public forum to elaborate on the leak.

Taylor held its forum at LSU last Wednesday. I traveled to Baton Rouge to witness and report...

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 10:17am

Taylor Energy SpillYesterday, Taylor Energy, the company responsible for a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, held a public meeting to disclose details of the chronic spill. Taylor Energy was required to host this public, daylong hearing as a result of a court settlement with environmental groups.

The leak began in 2004, when Hurricane Ivan toppled a platform owned by Taylor Energy. Eleven years later, oil is still leaking from the site, and the company claims nothing can be done to stop it. It is estimated that since 2004 between 300,000 and 1.4 million gallons of oil have spilled from the site into the Gulf of Mexico.

At a time when decision-makers and oil companies are looking to expand drilling off the Atlantic coast, what is happening with Taylor Energy should be viewed as a cautionary tale. This ongoing...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 4:57pm

Protect Our Coast

Last week, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as Louisiana’s new governor. We know that being governor in Louisiana is not an easy job - however, our state needs true leadership on restoring our coasts and communities.

Join us in calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to be a coastal leader for Louisiana.

On the campaign trail, Governor Edwards committed to making coastal restoration a “national priority worthy of funding." We appreciate this commitment, however, for too long, Louisiana state leaders have paid lip-service to coastal restoration while approving projects that further degrade our coasts and divert much needed funding.

The crisis facing coastal communities can not be ignored - tell Governor Edwards to protect our coasts and communities.

Louisiana is the state most impacted by the Gulf Dead Zone - an area of low to no oxygen...

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 3:04pm
Drought seen in sub-Saharan Africa
Erratic precipitation emphasizes the need for evidence-based freshwater management

Water is wet, and essential to our fleshy existence. Freshwater reserves are unfortunately disappearing across the globe, compounding the threats posed by human-caused climate change.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) is underway in France, where Gulf South Rising’s delegation of frontline voices has been engaging with others most affected by climate inaction. These historic negotiations are set in ‘Le Bourget,’ a suburb of Paris. While the world’s elected officials and decision-makers convene here, other visitors are offered opportunities to attend various expert panels.

In our first trip to Le Bourget, I sat in on ‘Groundwater and Climate Change in the Sahara and Sahel Regions.’ From Tunisia and Chad, to Uganda and beyond, panelists shared insights on Africa’s dire situation.

In 2012, only two-thirds of the continent’s population had access to potable water. Within the sub-Saharan region, access is even lower. As climate change raises regional temperatures, it’s projected...

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 2:42pm
 

We at GRN are honored to have the support of local artists and businesses who want to help us protect the Gulf. These creative entrepreneurs support us by sharing our work with their networks and by donating a portion of proceeds to GRN. Check out this guide for holiday shopping ideas, and give a gift that protects the Gulf!

 

Neutral Ground

Vincent Vumbaco is the founder of Neutral Ground, a digital woodshop that creates beautifully etched art. After seeing images of Louisiana's projected wetland loss, Vincent was inspired to make his own version of Louisiana's boot, etched onto reclaimed cypress.  Neutral Ground donates 25% of the Louisiana boot sales to GRN.

 

 

 

Annie Moran Fine Jewelry

Annie Moran is a New Orleans-based

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Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 10:45am

At the end of November, we will be moving from Julia Street to a new office in the Central Business District. We’re excited about our new space and hope to see you there! As of December 1, 2015 you can reach us by mail at:

       Gulf Restoration Network
       330 Carondelet, 3rd Floor
       New Orleans, LA 70117

All other contact information will remain the same. We look forward to continuing to fight for the health of our gulf in 2016 and beyond.

 

 

Megan Meyer is GRN's Membership Coordinator.

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 5:40pm
A lone excavator prowls the restoration project

As wetlands continue to disappear in droves, restoration efforts remain paramount. Rehabilitating these ecosystems reintroduces countless vibrant species, while simultaneously bolstering wind and floodwater defenses. Lest we forget, wetland mitigation is also required by the Clean Water Act’s policy of ‘no net loss.’

This past Wednesday, GRN visited Plaquemines Parish to witness wetland-building firsthand. Our destination was the Jesuit Bend Mitigation Bank, a 338-acre site and the only project currently creating land from dredged river sediment. Thanks to Restoration Systems LLC, in partnership with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, we were able to travel by car, riverboat, and airboat to see the full, massive scope of this engineering endeavor.

The whole operation is set into motion by a floating behemoth that stirs up sediment some seventy feet below the River’s surface. Once loosened, the muddy mixture is pumped multiple miles downriver via pipeline: underwater, under LA 23, under the...

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 3:44am
gooey tar pervades the sand of grand isle state park, just below the surface

As the Department of Justice moves closer to finalizing the settlement with BP, there is much that leaves us unsettled. Our trip to Grand Isle State Park this past Saturday, 14 November, offered more than a stroll in the sand. 

Many of the usual tar balls were scattered on the beach just yards away from the fishing pier. These hardened, weathered chunks of asphaltene are scattered among mangrove seeds--many of which were sprouting in this unusually warm November. 

More disturbing than these barren seeds of BP's greed, however, are the layers of black revealed by a trench dug only a foot and a half into the sand. Scraping back the surface of the beach has revealed stinking gray and black layers that remain just out of sight. 

This 'tar sand' is saturated with black. When squeezed, it deforms to the contour of a gloved fist. It stinks like a fresh road. This is our state...

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 10:47am

Yellow Eyed CreaturesGulf Restoration Network is proud to partner with the regional premiere of "Yellow Eyed Creatures," a theatre production which will be staged outdoors in New Orleans City Park in November. A modern retelling of the Genesis myth set in the swamps of Louisiana, "Yellow Eyed Creatures" unearths a new interpretation of humanity’s bond with nature and the need to protect our wild places. 

Below we’ve interviewed Ariadne Blayde, the play’s award-winning author, about her writing process and the play’s environmental themes. 

GRN: Tell us more about “Yellow Eyed Creatures.” What’s the production about?

Ariadne Blayde: Part parable, part coming-of-age story, “Yellow Eyed Creatures” is about two teenage girls who’ve lived their whole lives in the wild. When a boy their age arrives from the outside world, the allure of civilization becomes very tempting, and they must ultimately decide whether or not to...

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 1:14pm

Staff PhotoJust as the seasons are changing here in the Gulf coast (albeit slowly), GRN’s staff is also undergoing some changes. A few long-time team members are moving on to fresh adventures, current staff are taking on new roles and brand new folks are joining the fight for a healthy Gulf. 

Last month, we were sad to say goodbye to Jonathan Henderson, our Coastal Resiliency Organizer, who headed our monitoring work in the wake of the BP drilling disaster. Jonathan will continue to focus on protecting the Gulf with his new endeavor, Vanishing Earth, and we look forward to working with him. Scott Eustis, GRN’s Coastal Wetland Specialist, will be taking over much of our monitoring work. Several other members of our staff also moved on over the past year, and you can read more about that on page 5 of our...

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