Archive for Media Resources


Opening of Hurricane Season a Timely Reminder of Urgent Need for Coastal Restoration

May 28, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Community Resiliency, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricanes, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org

Opening of Hurricane Season a Timely Reminder of Urgent Need for Coastal Restoration

Leading conservation groups call for action as storm season commences

(New Orleans, LA—May 28, 2015) Prior to the June 1 start of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, national and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration– Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – issued the following statement:

“The start of the 2015 hurricane season and the approaching 10th anniversaries of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are powerful reminders of the need to restore Louisiana’s coast in order to better protect our communities.

“The looming storm season should serve as a warning flag to state and federal officials of the urgency for implementing and fully funding science-based coastal restoration solutions. Wetlands serve as the primary line of defense against storm surge for New Orleans, Houma, Lake Charles and all of Louisiana’s coastal communities. Restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Chenier Plain are the cornerstones of the Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy, which incorporates natural and manmade features to better protect this vital region.

“Without restoration of Louisiana’s coast, other efforts to protect against storm surge and damage will provide little more than stopgap solutions. The destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 10 years ago demonstrated the urgent need to fortify and restore coastal barrier islands, cheniers and wetlands, to provide strong storm defenses that can work in concert with levees and other structural solutions.

“Our coast is disappearing at the alarming rate of a football field every hour. As our wetlands disappear, so does the natural protection they provide for millions of coastal residents, hundreds of billions of dollars in oil and gas infrastructure, one of the nation’s most productive seafood industries and its critical navigation system.

“Nearly 10 years after Katrina and Rita, we urge the RESTORE Council to fund large-scale restoration projects in the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan and for the Louisiana Legislature to fully implement this plan before it’s too late.”

Background:

Louisiana has made important strides in the 10 years since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Federal and state authorities have:

  • Instituted the 2012 Coastal Master Plan for restoring Louisiana’s coast and protecting coastal communities.
  • Created the RESTORE Council to prioritize funding for restoration projects with fines received from BP and other companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.
  • Closed the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) channel that increased Hurricane Katrina’s destructive power in the greater New Orleans area.
  • Started implementing over 200 projects across 20 parishes, including those aimed at rebuilding and protecting marshes, barrier islands and other natural buffers.

But there is a long road ahead before meaningful and sustainable restoration is achieved. For the benefit of all Louisianans and Americans for generations to come, as hurricane season begins, we ask:

  • The RESTORE Council to include projects from the 2012 Coastal Master Plan in its final comprehensive restoration plan, including the 19 priority projects our coalition identified for achieving significant progress.
  • The Louisiana Legislature to prioritize coastal restoration and fully implement the 2012 Coastal Master Plan for sustaining the state’s coast.
  • Our next governor to make coastal restoration chief among his or her administration’s priorities and to protect existing and work to secure future coastal restoration funding.
  • Develop the state’s 2017 Coastal Master Plan with a focus on the best science-based solutions available to achieve large-scale restoration and long-term protection.

As you report on this year’s hurricane season and/or Hurricane Katrina anniversary, please contact us if you’d like to speak with one of our experts. For more information on the projects that can save Louisiana’s coast, please visit: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/restoration-projects/map/.

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Conservation Groups Commend Congressional Funding of Louisiana Coastal Restoration Projects

May 21, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Federal Policy, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org

Conservation Groups Commend Congressional Funding of Louisiana Coastal Restoration Projects

Funding will help advance crucial, long-needed Louisiana coastal restoration efforts

(Washington, D.C.—May 21, 2015) Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations included critical funding for the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Program in its Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 16) Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The legislation comes after a request in the President’s FY 16 budget of $50,000 for LCA General Investigations and $10 million for LCA Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials (BUD Mat) Construction. The U.S. House of Representatives also included these levels of funding it its FY 16 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.

National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – released the following statement:

“We thank the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives, for recognizing the importance of the Mississippi River Delta and dedicating funding to the Louisiana Coastal Area Program, which will restore this nationally significant ecosystem. We would especially like to thank Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) for their bipartisan leadership in shepherding this funding through Congress.

“We stand prepared to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state of Louisiana and the Louisiana congressional delegation to advance LCA projects via all possible funding streams, including FY 16 appropriations. With each passing day, we lose more of the Louisiana coast that is home to millions of Americans, provides billions of dollars of economic activity and is vital wildlife habitat for thousands of species. We can make great strides on a path forward to restoring our rapidly disappearing coastline, but we must dedicate urgently needed resources to restoration projects that will build land now.”

Background:

  • The state of Louisiana has demonstrated a solid commitment to LCA by including many of its projects in the state’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan.
  • Not only will the LCA projects work in concert with a suite of projects to enhance coastal restoration, but the master plan also identifies other funding sources, including state dollars, to implement the entire restoration effort.
  • In fact, several distinct LCA project components are already under construction and slated to be completed, relying on these varied funding streams.
  • Additionally, the state of Louisiana has, by statute, directed its federal RESTORE Act funding allocations to the constitutionally protected Coastal Restoration and Protection Fund to be spent solely on projects in the master plan.
  • Seeing the need to stem the degradation of the Mississippi River Delta system, Congress committed to restore the Louisiana Coastal Area in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, and this effort remains an urgent national priority today.
  • Although the projects were authorized by Congress in the Water Resources and Development Act of 2007, Fiscal Year 2015 was the first time this program received funding.
  • LCA projects will restore critical wetlands around the delta and protect Louisiana’s coastal infrastructure and natural resources.
  • Louisiana has lost more than one million acres of coastal wetlands since the 1930s, and another 300 thousand acres are at risk over the next 50 years.
  • This loss of vital coastal wetlands has significant implications for the ecology, society and economy of the region and the entire nation that depends on the Mississippi River Delta for shipping, navigation and other industries.

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org.

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NOAA Study Confirms BP Oil Spill Led to Dolphin Deaths in Northern Gulf of Mexico

May 20, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later, BP Oil Disaster, Media Resources, NOAA, Reports, Science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org

NOAA Study Confirms BP Oil Spill Led to Dolphin Deaths in Northern Gulf of Mexico 

Leading Conservation Groups Call on BP to Accept Responsibility for Continued Environmental Damage

(New Orleans, LA—May 20, 2015) Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a peer-reviewed study confirming that the 2010 Gulf oil disaster contributed to an increase in dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Examining dolphins, including those in Barataria Bay, La. – an area hit particularly hard with heavy oil in 2010 – scientists found that contaminants from petroleum in BP oil caused lung and adrenal lesions that led to death in these dolphins.

In response, national and local conservation groups working on Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast restoration, including Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, issued the following statement:

“BP has spent millions of dollars trying to dodge responsibility and convince the American public that wildlife and habitat in the Gulf were minimally impacted by its hundreds of millions of gallons of oil spilled in 2010. Just two months ago, BP marked the fifth anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster by releasing a report claiming the Gulf had largely recovered from the spill.

“Despite BP’s best claims, this new NOAA study definitively links the increased dolphin deaths in Barataria Bay with the 2010 Gulf oil disaster and is yet another example of the extensive and destructive impact that BP’s oil unleashed on the people, wildlife and environment of the Gulf. Additional scientific research conducted through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment indicates that dolphins – a top predator – are experiencing impacts from BP’s oil and are still dying at higher than normal rates due to oil exposure in the Gulf ecosystem.

“Last fall, BP was found to be grossly negligent for its actions in the Gulf oil disaster. This study is a stark reminder that the oil is still in the Gulf, it’s still causing sickness and death in some species and it’s still affecting the entire ecosystem. It’s time for BP to stop denying the true impacts of the spill and accept responsibility for its actions, so that meaningful restoration can proceed.”

 Background:

Since the BP oil disaster five years ago, ongoing findings deliver truths omitted by BP’s ads: the oil disaster’s negative effects are increasingly clear, present and far from resolved.

A recent infographic depicts ongoing impacts of the Gulf oil disaster five years later. And over the past year alone, new scientific research has surfaced:

  • A 2014 study found evidence of a 1,250-square-mile area of oil contamination on the ocean floor around the Macondo wellhead in deep Gulf sediments.
  • A previous NOAA study found a large number of dead dolphins in heavily oiled places, including Barataria Bay, La.
  • Recent studies estimate 1,000,000 birds died as a result of being exposed to BP oil.
  • Modeling for a recent stock assessment projected that between 20,000 and 60,000 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles died in 2010 as a result of the spill.
  • A 2014 study found concentrations of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) – which can cause harmful effects in many birds, fish and wildlife – in Barataria and Terrebonne marshes, which may persist for decades.
  • A 2012 study found that oiled marshes in Barataria Bay eroded at double the rate of non-oiled marshes.
  • A recent survey found that 70 percent of Americans believe BP should pay maximum fines under the Clean Water Act for its role in the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

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Leading Conservation Groups Praise Passage of HCR1, Funding 2015-2016 Coastal Annual Plan

May 19, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), Media Resources, State Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
 

HCR1 Passes Legislature, Funding 2015-2016 Coastal Annual Plan

Leading Conservation Groups Praise Passage as Recognition of Coastal Restoration Priorities

(New Orleans, LA—May 19, 2015) Today, House Concurrent Resolution 1 (HCR 1) – the funding vehicle for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s 2015-2016 annual plan for integrated coastal protection and restoration – made its final passage through the state legislature with unanimous approval of the Senate. The annual plan funds coastal restoration and hurricane protection for a three-year period through the authorization of $884 million in spending towards new and existing projects.

This authorization will fund some of the 19 priority projects for restoring Louisiana’s coast as identified by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition. In response, coalition organizations including Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation issued the following statement:

“The Louisiana Legislature demonstrated continued commitment to coastal restoration and protection issues by passing HCR1 today. As we mark the tenth year since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated our communities, at no point is this commitment more important than now.

“The passage of this year’s annual plan funds important projects that will have a significant impact on restoring our coast and better protecting the people, wildlife and industries of Louisiana.

“We applaud the leadership of Chip Kline, Director of the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities and Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and express gratitude to bill sponsor Representative Gordon Dove of Houma and Senator Norby Chabert of Houma, for shepherding this resolution through the legislature.

“A strong, sustainable Louisiana coast is the backbone of a vibrant economy, protected communities and a healthy environment. We ask all legislators to continue to prioritize coastal restoration and protection in the years ahead.”

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org.

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Restoration Groups Call on President Obama to Make Leadership on Gulf Restoration a Priority Issue

April 17, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 5 Years Later, BP Oil Disaster, Media Resources

GRP EDF NWF NAS OC TNC header

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Andrew Blejwas, The Nature Conservancy, 617.785.7047, ablejwas@tnc.org
Rachel Guillory, Ocean Conservancy, 504.208.5816, rguillory@oceanconservancy.org

RESTORATION GROUPS CALL ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE LEADERSHIP ON GULF RESTORATION A PRIORITY ISSUE

Five years after the start of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, nation’s largest environmental groups ask the President to accelerate restoration

(Washington, D.C. – April 17, 2015) Today, groups working on Gulf restoration called on President Obama to redouble the administration’s efforts to hold BP accountable for the oil disaster that started five years ago – and continued for nearly 90 days – making it the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The groups, including Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy and Ocean Conservancy released the following joint statement:

“The communities and wildlife along the Gulf Coast are still suffering from the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Today, we stand with the people and the communities of the Gulf – and the ecosystems that provide their homes and livelihoods – and ask President Obama and his administration to make Gulf of Mexico restoration a national priority.

“Five years ago, President Obama promised to do whatever is necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy. It’s time to renew that commitment. Not only must BP be held fully accountable for the harm it caused in the Gulf, but the administration should ensure that its agencies work with all the Gulf stakeholders to make certain that the fines and penalties are used for well-planned, coordinated, large-scale comprehensive Gulf restoration.

“The five Gulf states have a gross domestic product of over $2.3 trillion a year, which relies heavily on seafood, tourism and other industries that depend on a healthy environment. In addition, a strong and healthy ecosystem is the best defense the region has against storms like Hurricane Katrina. The communities of the Gulf cannot afford to keep losing time, as we are just weeks away from the start of another hurricane season. We hope the administration will make this work a priority, and we look forward to working with the President and his agencies to speed up restoration efforts.”

At-a-glance: 2010 oil spill’s devastating impact:

  • Recent studies estimate 1,000,000 birds died as a result of being exposed to the oil.
  • Health assessments of dolphins in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay found that those dolphins were five times more likely to have moderate to severe lung disease than dolphins at other sites and in previous studies of wild dolphins.
  • A 2014 study found evidence of a 1,250-square-mile area of oil contamination on the ocean floor around the Macondo wellhead in deep Gulf sediments.

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Five Years after BP Oil Spill: Focus Should Be on Continued Need for Restoration

April 16, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later, BP Oil Disaster, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org

Five Years after BP Oil Spill: Focus Should Be on Continued Need for Restoration  

Leading Conservation Groups Challenge BP to Stop Campaign of Misinformation, Fund Restoration

(New Orleans, LA—April 16, 2015) Monday, April 20, marks five years since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 men and spewing at least 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In advance of the memorial, leading national and local conservation organizations working on Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast restoration – Environmental Defense FundNational Audubon SocietyNational Wildlife Federation and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement:

“As we approach the fifth anniversary of one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, there is no question that the damage unleashed by the BP oil spill is serious, evident and ongoing. Five years have passed and BP is still sidestepping responsibility.

“Despite BP’s attempts to convince the public through high-priced publicity campaigns that the Gulf is fine, the negative impacts of its ‘gross negligence’ will be felt for decades. BP claims that the Gulf’s natural resources have rebounded, but peer-reviewed scientific studies and visible ongoing effects tell another story. Five years later, 10 million gallons of oil remain on the Gulf floor. Last month, a 25,000-pound BP tar mat was discovered on a Louisiana barrier island. And Cat Island – an important nesting site for brown pelicans and other coastal birds – has nearly disappeared since the spill. Even more troubling are the lingering effects not visible: significant damage from oil and chemical dispersants to the food web, wildlife and overall ecosystem of the Gulf Coast.

“In the courts of public opinion and science, BP’s claims that the spill’s effects are limited and that the Gulf has recovered have no merit. Rather than wasting additional precious time and money dodging blame, it’s time for BP to drop the publicity campaign, let the courts and scientific process decide, and then quickly pay for the damage it caused.

“The Gulf Coast depends on a healthy ecosystem to feed and fuel the nation, so ensuring that it’s comprehensively restored is not just a regional issue – it’s of utmost importance to people across the country. A recent poll found that 70 percent of Americans believe BP should pay the maximum fine allowed under the Clean Water Act. Clearly, America is stronger when the Gulf is stronger, both ecologically and economically. But in addition to the effects of the spill, Louisiana has been facing a land loss crisis for decades – since the 1930s, we have lost 1,900 square miles of land. Nowhere is restoration more needed than in the Mississippi River Delta, which was ground zero for the Gulf oil disaster. BP should put its money where it is most needed, toward meaningful restoration of America’s Gulf Coast, as opposed to legal fees and promotional dollars.

“We have a historic opportunity to restore the health of our wetlands, revive Gulf Coast economies that depend on them and make the Gulf Coast better than it was before the spill – but we must begin restoration now. Implementation of restoration plans cannot fully begin until BP accepts responsibility and pays. Thanks to vehicles like Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and the RESTORE Act of 2012 – which ensures that the Clean Water Act fines BP pays will be used for restoration – and by implementing our coalition’s recommended 19 priority projects, true progress can be made along the Gulf Coast before it’s too late.”

Background:

Since the BP oil disaster five years ago, ongoing findings deliver truths omitted by BP’s ads: the oil disaster’s negative effects are increasingly clear, present and far from resolved.

A new infographic depicts ongoing impacts of the Gulf oil disaster five years later. And over the past year alone, new scientific research has surfaced:

  • A 2014 study found evidence of a 1,250-square-mile area of oil contamination on the ocean floor around the Macondo wellhead in deep Gulf sediments.
  • A new NOAA study found a large number of dead dolphins in heavily oiled places, including Barataria Bay, La.
  • Recent studies estimate 800,000 birds died as a result of being exposed to BP oil.
  • Modeling for a recent stock assessment projected that between 20,000 and 60,000 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles died in 2010 as a result of the spill.
  • A 2014 study found concentrations of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) – which can cause harmful effects in many birds, fish and wildlife – in Barataria and Terrebonne marshes, which may persist for decades.
  • A 2012 study found that oiled marshes in Barataria Bay eroded at double the rate of non-oiled marshes.
  • A recent survey found that 70 percent of Americans believe BP should pay maximum fines under the Clean Water Act for its role in the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

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Five Years Later: Gulf Oil Disaster’s Impacts to Habitat and Wildlife Still Evident

March 31, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Birds, BP Oil Disaster, Clean Water Act, Media Resources, RESTORE Act, Science, Wildlife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org

Five Years Later: Gulf Oil Disaster’s Impacts to Habitat and Wildlife Still Evident

Leading Conservation Groups Highlight BP Spill’s Ongoing Effects, Continued Need for Restoration

(New Orleans, LA—March 31, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 men and spewing at least 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, leading national and local conservation organizations working on Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast restoration – Environmental Defense FundNational Audubon SocietyNational Wildlife Federation and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – released the following statement:

“Despite BP’s claims that the Gulf oil disaster and its ecological impacts are over, ongoing research and present-day observations in areas that were heavily oiled tell a different story.

“New independent scientific studies provide evidence that the full consequences of the spill to wildlife and habitats are still unfolding. From dolphins to sea turtles to birds, we still are seeing the real and lasting environmental impacts of one of the worst oil spills in our nation’s history.

“BP claims the nearly 134 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf has not negatively affected the ecosystem. But continued surveillance of areas like Barataria Bay, where thick oil coated vital wildlife habitat, including marshes and barrier islands, reveals lasting effects of the spill. Cat Island, a mangrove island that was heavily oiled, was once a lush, thriving rookery for brown pelicans and other birds, but today it is gray, lifeless and has nearly disappeared. Other coastal areas damaged by the spill are also still in need of repair.

“To this day, oil is still being found, most recently in the form of a 25,000-pound tar mat located on a Louisiana barrier island, near where 40,000 pounds of BP-oiled material was unearthed two years ago. It’s time for BP to put the publicity campaign aside, stop shirking responsibility and finally ‘make it right’ for the people, wildlife and habitats of the Gulf Coast.

“The oil disaster wreaked incomparable damage to an already-stressed Gulf Coast ecosystem. In Louisiana, the oil spill dealt another blow to an area ravaged by land loss – since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost nearly 1,900 square miles of land, or an area the size of Delaware. Nowhere is restoration more needed than the Mississippi River Delta, which is the cornerstone of a healthy Gulf ecosystem.

“Restoration solutions are within reach and plans are in place, but implementation of restoration plans cannot fully begin until BP accepts responsibility and pays its fines. Thanks to vehicles like Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and the historic RESTORE Act of 2012, which ensures that the Clean Water Act fines BP pays will be used for restoration, the Gulf Coast can make headway on real restoration projects that can make a difference. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore the health of our wetlands, revive Gulf Coast economies that depend on them, and make the Gulf Coast better than it was before the spill, but we must begin restoration now. The Gulf Coast – and the people, wildlife and jobs that depend on it – cannot wait any longer.”

Background:

Since the BP oil disaster five years ago, ongoing findings deliver truths omitted by BP’s ads: the oil disaster’s negative effects are increasingly clear, present and far from resolved.

A new infographic depicts ongoing impacts of the Gulf oil disaster five years later. And over the past year alone, new scientific research has surfaced:

  • A 2014 study found evidence of a 1,250-square-mile area of oil contamination on the ocean floor around the Macondo wellhead in deep Gulf sediments.
  • A new NOAA study found a large number of dead dolphins in heavily oiled places, including Barataria Bay, La.
  • Recent studies estimate 800,000 birds died as a result of being exposed to BP oil.
  • Modeling for a recent stock assessment projected that between 20,000 and 60,000 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles died in 2010 as a result of the spill.
  • A 2014 study found concentrations of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) – which can cause harmful effects in many birds, fish and wildlife – in Barataria and Terrebonne marshes, which may persist for decades.
  • A 2012 study found that oiled marshes in Barataria Bay eroded at double the rate of non-oiled marshes.

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David Muth

David Muth of the National Wildlife Federation on a tour of Barataria Bay, La. March 31, 2015.

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Survey Says Majority of Americans Believe BP Should Pay Maximum Gulf Oil Spill Fines

February 6, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in BP Oil Disaster, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org

Survey Says Majority of Americans Believe BP Should Pay Maximum Gulf Oil Spill Fines
70 percent say oil company should be fined the maximum allowed under the Clean Water Act

(New Orleans – February 6, 2015) A new national survey reports that 70 percent of Americans polled nationwide believe “BP should be fined the maximum amount allowed under the Clean Water Act” for its role in the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The third and final phase of the BP oil spill civil trial, which will determine how much the oil company will be required to pay in fines, concluded this week in New Orleans. BP could be ordered to pay up to $13.7 billion in Clean Water Act fines for its role in one of the largest oil disasters in U.S. history.

IMG_9283“The majority of Americans understand that BP has not yet paid any civil penalties for its reckless discharge of oil into the Gulf, nor can it claim credit for clean-up costs as if mopping up your mess is the same as fixing the damage it caused. As new scientific studies are published, we learn more and more about the lasting impacts to many species, habitats and industries,” said David Muth, director of National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf restoration program. “Five years later, Gulf restoration has not truly begun. If BP really wants Americans to believe it is sincere, it should pay the fines it owes, and fund the restoration the Gulf so badly needs.”

An overwhelming majority of Americans polled in all parts of the country said they believed BP should pay the maximum fines, even after hearing BP’s claims of what the company has already spent on “spill-related costs” thus far. This is according to the results of the independent survey conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend.

“Americans aren’t fooled by BP’s misleading advertising campaigns and five years of legal shenanigans to drag out this court case,” said Douglas Meffert, executive director and vice president of Audubon Louisiana. “BP claims it wants to ‘make it right.’ If that is true, the first step is to start accepting responsibility for the damage it caused the wetlands, people and wildlife of the Gulf Coast and pay the maximum fines.”

“If BP wants anyone other than themselves to agree that they ‘made it right,’ they can step out of the shadow of lawyers, quit spinning and arguing, and just accept full responsibility,” said Steve Cochran, director of Environmental Defense Fund’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration program. “The sooner that happens, the sooner real resources can be put to work restoring the Gulf. And in this anniversary year of one of the worst oil spills in American history, that would be a great thing for the Gulf and for BP.”

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Conservation Groups React to Coastal Restoration Cuts in President’s Budget

February 4, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org

Conservation Groups React to Coastal Restoration Cuts in President’s Budget
Proposed budget jeopardizes critical wetlands restoration

(NEW ORLEANS – February 4, 2015) On Monday, President Obama unveiled a $4 trillion proposed budget that would tap more than $3 billion in future oil and gas revenues from Gulf Coast states to pay for other national conservation priorities. This shift would divert monies from coastal restoration projects in Louisiana.

National and local conservation organizations committed to coastal Louisiana restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – issued the following statement in response:

“We are encouraged by and committed to the elements of the President’s budget that take on climate change, support the development of clean energy, and fully fund the woefully underfunded Land and Water Conservation Fund and other crucial conservation initiatives. But we are disappointed by the budget’s proposed diversion of critically needed and currently dedicated funding for coastal Louisiana and the Mississippi River Delta.

“This proposed budget undercuts the Administration’s previous commitments to restore critical economic infrastructure and ecosystems in the Mississippi River Delta, where we are losing 16 square miles of critical wetlands every year – a preventable coastal erosion crisis. Those wetlands, and the culture and economic infrastructure they protect from hurricanes, will be lost without complete and ongoing intervention. And that intervention – currently underway through implementation of the 2012 Coastal Master Plan – cannot be successful without sufficient funding.

“We urge Congress to fund the President’s commitments to coastal restoration and conservation by maintaining GOMESA funding that is vital to the Gulf Coast and by identifying additional funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other priorities. The Mississippi River Delta is a national treasure that is home to millions of Americans, provides vital wildlife habitat, and supports billions of dollars in seafood production, navigation interests and energy production. This landscape deserves our full attention – and comprehensive restoration.”

The budget proposal would shift hundreds of millions of dollars of offshore oil and gas GOMESA revenue from Louisiana to other spending needs. Louisiana already constitutionally dedicated these future monies to the critical efforts now underway to restore coastal Louisiana and the Mississippi River Delta.

Additionally, the groups expressed strong disappointment that the Administration’s proposal walks away from an essential longstanding commitment to Army Corps of Engineers funding for construction of critical restoration projects. For four years, the Administration has proposed investing in the Corps budget to restore the delta through the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) program. In fiscal year 2013, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo Ellen Darcy explained the investment to Congress that restoring coastal Louisiana is “a nationally significant and urgent effort to both restore habitat and protect the important Louisiana Gulf region from the destructive forces of storm driven waves and tides.”

“The LCA program is far too important to abandon or delay,” said EDF, NWF, NAS and LPBF. “The Administration and Congress should do all they can to fund it as soon and as fully as possible.”

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NEWS RELEASE: Louisiana Governor Cuts Coastal Funds, Jeopardizing Coast

January 22, 2015 | Posted by lbourg in Economy, Media Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Lauren Bourg, National Audubon Society, 225.776.9838, lbourg@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.767.4181, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org

Louisiana Governor Cuts Coastal Funds, Jeopardizing Coast

Budget cuts will impact restoration programs and raises question of how state will pay for Coastal Plan

(New Orleans – January 21, 2015) On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced budget cuts including cuts to Louisiana coastal programs and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency (CPRA).

National and local conservation organizations committed to coastal Louisiana restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana  issued the following statement in response to announced budget cuts:

“In 2012 the Governor and legislature of the State of Louisiana embarked upon a fifty-year, $50 billion effort to avert a disaster for more than two million of our coastal citizens.  To date the state has managed to shield the agency leading that effort, CPRA, from budgetary politics. CPRA manages hundreds of millions of dollars in levee and restoration construction projects each year and is run on a small budget entirely supported by mineral revenues—nothing from the taxpayer-supported general fund.

“Clearly, Louisiana is facing a short term budgetary crisis, but CPRA is tackling a much more serious long- term crisis. If we lose the fight against the forces of coastal erosion, we lose our homes, our coastal towns and cities, our jobs, and we devastate our local and national economy. We are in the very early stages of developing the long-term strategies we’ll need to fund the plan—and we have a long way to go. In the meantime, cutting CPRA’s restoration and protection program support is short-sighted and ill-advised.

“Louisiana’s coastal region is an economic driver for the state and the front lines in protecting our state from storms and the encroaching Gulf of Mexico. Today’s budget cuts diminish the CPRA’s ability to do its job, putting communities at risk and slowing down restoration efforts.  These cuts are an unfortunate attempt to hastily balance a budget while potentially having lasting impacts on our coastal economy and safety of coastal residents.

“As the state begins to implement a fifty-year, $50 billion coastal master plan, now is not the time to be cutting funds from the coastal program. On the contrary, the governor and legislature should instead be laying out a vision for what new sources of funding will pay for this critical plan.

We look forward to working with this governor and future governors to protect our coast and develop new, long-term funding sources that can be used to implement the state’s coastal master plan.”

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Interview Opportunities: Interview opportunities are available with experts in coastal restoration and budget issues from our national and local conservation organizations.

Mississippi River Delta Restoration Experts:
David Muth, Director for Mississippi River Delta Restoration, National Wildlife Federation
Douglas J. Meffert, D. Env., MBA, Executive Director, National Audubon Society (Audubon Louisiana)
Kimberly Reyher, Executive Director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
Steve Cochran, Director for Mississippi River Delta Restoration, Environmental Defense Fund

 

 

 

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