Senate urged to pass bipartisan bill to dedicate oil spill fines to restore Gulf
(Washington, D.C.—September 21, 2011) A coalition of six groups supporting Gulf restoration praised the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee for approving legislation today, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast States Act, with a strong showing of bipartisan support. The bill passed by voice vote with only three requested no's recorded.
The legislation would ensure that penalties paid by BP and others responsible for last year’s Gulf oil disaster are used to restore the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, barrier islands, dunes, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast; and the economies of communities and the region that were impacted by the spill...
Continue reading the release here >>
Editorial boards from around the Gulf are reflecting how Gulf Coast residents—and voters nationwide—feel about coastal restoration in light of last summer's oil spill: Congress must act now to ensure that the fines paid by BP and others responsible for the spill are dedicated to restoring the Gulf Coast's ecosystem and economy.
Click here to see what the editorial boards are saying about the RESTORE the Gulf Coast States Act >>
Groups urge Congress to pass RESTORE Act to dedicate oil spill fines to restore Gulf
(Washington, D.C.—September 14, 2011) A coalition of organizations supporting Gulf restoration says a new federal report revealing that BP, Transocean and Halliburton Co. made critical mistakes leading up to last year’s Gulf oil disaster reinforces the need for Congress to pass legislation to use the oil spill penalties for those mistakes to restore the Gulf.
“The mistakes that these companies made damaged the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf region. The penalties that they will pay for these errors should go directly to restoring the ecosystems and economies of the region, where the damage was done,” said a joint statement issued by Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Ocean Conservancy and Oxfam America. “Leaders in Congress should take decisive action this year to make sure that any fines that are paid for the Gulf spill stay in the Gulf, and are not used for unrelated federal spending.”
Read more about the report >>
By Maura Wood, National Wildlife Federation
It seemed odd to be heading out of the Myrtle Grove Marina on a beautiful day looking for oil. The Deepwater Horizon well was capped over a year ago. BP is trying to wrap up their clean-up operations, tell us it’s all clear, and hightail it out of here. So it’s over, right?
No, it’s not over. What we saw in Louisiana’s Bay Jimmy and Barataria Bay was deeply disappointing. The oil is still there, and the impacts of the oil are evident...
Continue reading about Maura's visit to still-oily Bay Jimmy >>
By Alisha Renfro, Ph.D., National Wildlife Federation
Since 1932, almost 1,900 square miles of ecologically and economically important land has been lost in coastal Louisiana. Historically, flooding from the Mississippi River built and maintained these coastal wetlands, but the construction of flood protection levees and upstream dams have cut off the connection between the river and its delta. River diversions direct water, nutrients and sediment back into the deteriorating wetlands and serve as an important restoration tool in the Mississippi River Delta.
A report prepared for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana titled "Assessment of 'Lessons Learned' from the Operations of Existing Freshwater Diversions in South Louisiana” explores almost 1,300 documents related to the subject of river diversions and their effects on soils, vegetation, wildlife and fisheries in coastal Louisiana. As an ecosystem-changing tool, river diversions have both benefits and drawbacks, and the goal of this effort was to investigate the current understanding of the diversions that are in place in order to use the best science and technology available to assist the planning, design and operation of future diversions...
Continue reading Alisha's analysis of the report >>
By Happy Johnson, National Wildlife Federation
On September 9, life-long community residents and civic leaders from New Orleans' Historic Lower 9th Ward took a boat tour of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier (IHNC), to see the structure up close and engage in discussions with local non-profit representatives about the critical importance of hurricane protection and ecosystem restoration.
The tour was sponsored by the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED), Lake Pontchatrain Basin Foundation, Gulf Restoration Network and the National Wildlife Federation. Other highlights of the tour included the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Bayou Bienvenue flood gate at the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shoreline protection projects and the Central Wetlands. The coastal ecosystems surrounding the aforementioned flood protection structures are vital to community protection...
Click here to watch the video >>
By Chris Pulaski, National Wildlife Federation
Name: Patricia "Patty" Whitney
Location: Thibodaux, Louisiana
Occupation: Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO) staff, environmental advocate
Tell me about your connection to south Louisiana. I was born and raised in south Louisiana and have never lived anywhere else (she was one of ten children). This is home. My ancestors have been here for centuries. My children live just a few blocks away from me. Most of my siblings and their children and grandchildren still live in this area. My roots backward are deep in coastal Louisiana, and so are my branches outward and forward.
What does south Louisiana mean to you? South Louisiana means a vibrant and fascinating history. It means warm and open hospitality. It means simple and hardworking people. It means strong and complex cultures. It means intense and deep social patterns. It means a fertile and primordial environment. It means drama and comedy. It means family and food and fun. It’s HOME. It was HOME to my ancestors. It is HOME to me. I hope it will be HOME to my descendants...
Continue reading Patty's story here >>
Whitford (Whit) Remer is the new policy analyst for Environmental Defense Fund’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration project. In this role, Whit works to advance EDF’s federal coastal restoration policy goals. His key responsibilities include monitoring and responding to congressional developments, securing adequate funding for restoration efforts and preparing research to help increase public and decision-maker awareness of restoration efforts.
Whit comes to Washington, D.C. by way of New Orleans, where he'd lived since Hurricane Katrina....
Continue reading Whit's story >>
Responding to the collapse of social and environmental ecosystems across the Lower Mississippi River Delta, Environmental Defense Fund and Van Alen Institute have embarked on a major, multi-year initiative to address the physical, scientific, social, and economic challenges of designing—and implementing—a self-sustaining Louisiana delta landscape.
In the aftermath of Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a broad coalition has gathered to bring Gulf Coast communities, ecologies, and commerce back into balance. To create fresh visions for the region’s future, the Lower Mississippi River Delta Design Initiative is a highly-competitive, two-phase process that uses design both as a problem-solving tool and a catalyst for public engagement.
We are seeking a consultant to serve as a Project Manager with exceptional leadership, management, and communication skills who will coordinate the creation of an organization in New Orleans to launch this landmark initiative and to support the recovery of the Gulf Coast’s environment, economy, and health and human services.
Read more about this position and how to apply >>