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We are encouraged by Senator Barbara Boxer's comments March 16, reported in the Times-Picayune:
"Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer said Wednesday she'll quickly move legislation giving Louisiana and other Gulf states the vast majority of fines imposed on BP for last year's massive BP oil spill."
Boxer, a California Democrat, said she's encouraged that Louisiana's two senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican David Vitter, are working together on such legislation and plans to schedule a committee vote soon. (Continue reading "Sen. Boxer promises quick action on bill to give Gulf states bulk of BP fines")
Senator Boxer's comments lend further momentum to a move that already enjoys strong public support in all five Gulf Coast states and significant support in Washington and raise hopes that Congress will indeed pass legislation this year dedicating Clean Water Act penalties from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to Gulf restoration. Thank you, Senator Boxer.
By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation
The MRGO Must Go Coalition partnered with leading scientists and prominent landowners in St. Bernard Parish to submit detailed recommendations
to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for review and incorporation into its final plan to restore massive ecosystem damage caused by the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel. The recommendations were based on two prior reports released by the Coalition and reviewed over several months by a group of coastal scientists with expertise in the MRGO study area. In addition, approximately 27,000 restoration-minded citizens from across the country submitted public comments to the Corps supporting the Coalition's recommendations.
Key recommendations from the MRGO Must Go Coalition include:
- Use the existing Violet canal corridor for the new Violet Diversion;
- Develop a baseline and then a comprehensive restoration plan for the Central Wetlands;
- Restore regional oyster barrier reefs along the east and north sides of the Biloxi Marsh;
- Utilize external scientific input to finalize and implement the plan;
- Use natural gas as a clean and efficient energy source;
- Include a new channel constriction and additional bankline restoration of the MRGO channel;
The recommendations can be viewed in their entirety here.
Continue reading here.
A coalition of environmental, economic, and social equity organizations celebrated the news that Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) have formed a bipartisan House Gulf Caucus to support restoration of the region’s environment and economy following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The coalition of groups support the Oil Commission’s recommendation that 80% of Clean Water Act (CWA) penalties to be paid by BP and other responsible parties go directly to Gulf restoration, to help the region recover economically and environmentally from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and past degradation. Directing the CWA penalties specifically to Gulf restoration will require specific action by Congress. Otherwise, the CWA penalties automatically will be deposited in the Federal Treasury... (continue reading here).
S. Ahmet Binselam is a geographic information systems (GIS) analyst in the National Audubon Society’s Baton Rouge office. He is Audubon’s lead environmental modeler and has analyzed shoreline change and marsh loss across the coast to inform restoration and conservation efforts, and he has led Audubon’s hydro-ecological modeling efforts for the Atchafalaya Basin.
He has participated mapping and modeling efforts in Louisiana since 1996, and his projects have included the official Louisiana state map, drought and rainfall mapping, storm surge modeling with the LSU Hurricane Center from 2002-08, and the map of Louisiana shoreline change from 1937-2000, which in 2008 won the Best Thematic Map award from the Cartography and Geographic Information Society and American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
Continue reading here.