Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell capped off Trump’s “Energy Week” by announcing a new energy bill that would speed approval of exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). We need your help to stop this destructive bill.
 
The vast majority of proposed new LNG export facilities - almost 30 - would be in Gulf states, which means Gulf communities will bear the brunt of accidents, explosions, and pollution that come with this dirty energy.
 
We say NO! Stand with us to stop this dirty energy bill.
 
This 891 page bill, which just dropped last week, is being brought to the floor without going through committee and before people have a chance to read it. 
 
What’s even more astounding is that the bill’s “Renewables” section ignores solar and wind. They aren’t even mentioned!

For too long, the Gulf has been the nation’s energy...

 
Flooded homes August 2016

Last August's flood broke the hearts and homes of many in the Baton Rouge area. But some of the water was once stored in our local rivers and wetlands. Reckless development has pushed that water onto homes that haven't flooded before.
 
Most homes flooded in the city of Central. And in the past year, Central has a seen 3 large flood events. These intense flood events show that current drainage is inadequate. So new developments should at least follow Central's master plan. The city wrote the master plan to ensure that the drainage system would work. But some developments are so careless that they build right into water-storing wetlands. 
 
This squeezes water out of wetland forests and onto older homes. 
 
For that reason Central residents have opposed The Lakes at Woodland Grove. This development does not follow the city’s Master Plan, which limits flood risks. It would even...

 

The fight to stop the Bayou Bridge pipeline continues. Most recently, GRN and a host of allies filed suit against Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). You may have read about it in this NOLA.com article, but here is the press release:
 
St. James citizens and advocacy groups are suing the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) for violating the Louisiana Constitution when it issued a Coastal Use Permit to Bayou Bridge Pipeline, LLC and refused to evaluate the negative environmental impact on the majority African American residents of St. James, Louisiana, who are surrounded by crude oil terminal facilities, pipelines and associated industry. The Petitioners, represented by Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, include H.E.L.P. (Humanitarian Enterprise of Loving People) Association, a community based organization in St. James at the terminus of the proposed pipeline, Gulf Restoration Network, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and Bold Louisiana.
 
LDNR issued the Coastal Use...

 

Welcome to GRN’s deep sea coral (DSC) blog series! Each week, I will bring you a new species of DSC to learn about, and often a species of fish or other marine organism that is associated with DSCs. There are already over 3,300 species of DSC that have been discovered by scientific expeditions, with new ones being identified and named with each trip.

Unfortunately, deep sea corals in the Gulf are under threat from warming waters, oil spills like the BP disaster, certain fishing methods, and other factors. Right now, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is considering new protections for some of our most precious corals. We’ll keep you informed on how you can play an active role in protecting these corals.

Before we start with specific species of DSCs, here is some background about these animals. 

  • Coral are in fact animals! Coral structures can be as small as
  • ...
 
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...

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Recent Posts

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