The America’s WETLAND Foundation's latest report urges lawmakers to pledge billions of dollars to Gulf Coast restoration.
Released today, “Beyond Unintended Consequences: Adaptation for Gulf Coast Resiliency and Sustainability" is the result of forums held in 11 Gulf Coast communities (including Lake Charles, Avery Island, Houma, Plaquemines Parish and New Orleans) in the last year. It gathered 1,100 "stakeholders" in environment, business, government and other agencies to make recommendations for rebuilding the coast. The report also based its recommendations on the findings of a $4.2 million study from Entergy.
The 30 recommendations outlined in the report are a "roadmap for adaptation and long-term sustainability, beginning with an urgent need for federal policy changes," it says. The report's opening letter co-signed by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and officials from Gulf Coast states reads, "We are pleased that this cooperative initiative has positioned the Gulf Coast to adapt to change. Resiliency is often talked about these days, but meaningful action is scarce, and the country cannot afford to wait."
When BP announced earlier this month that it's sending chefs and musicians from the Gulf Coast to the 2012 Olympics in London, which officially kicks off this week, there was mostly positive press from Gulf papers proud to send their hallmark chefs and cuisines to thousands of potential future tourists as part of the oil giant's "Spirit of the Gulf" promotion.
But last week, U.K.'s The Guardian, under the headline "BP's 'spirit of the Gulf' Olympics hospitality is hard to swallow," didn't exactly roll out the welcome mat: "BP has co-opted the phrase 'spirit of the Gulf' as a promotional device to position itself as the gatekeeper to the region's culture and cuisine," and quotes frequent oil disaster source and shrimper Dean Blanchard. Writer Laurie Tuffrey writes:
In the light of the Louisiana memorial's litany of loss, it's hard to say exactly how BP has promoted the Gulf Coast. Ravaging ecosystems and destroying community livelihoods, though, probably wouldn't make the list.
This Olympic marketing move looks, at best, horrifically ironic and, at worst, like rubbing salt (or should I say oil?) in the wound.
Mother Jones, which points back to this blog, writes that BP is sending a message that "Everything's fine in the post-spill Gulf; the 2010 spill and any ill effects from it are dead and gone."
The Kinfolk Brass Band — who will perform in London for the 2012 Olympic Games, thanks to BP — introduced Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne at the Old U.S. Mint this morning, who announced a partnership with Harry Connick Jr. and Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LBP).
In addition to the six-part documentary Louisiana: 200 Years of Statehood, LPB announced it will also air a "musical tribute" to tie in with the state's 2013 tourism campaign highlighting the state's music. BP has provided $1 million for the program.
"It was almost a mandate," Dardenne said, that the state call attention to its musical history for the Bicentennial. Connick will host and narrate the program, which features Louisiana artists performing on-site across the state.
The artists will perform renditions of "You Are My Sunshine," originally recorded by Gov. Jimmie Davis in 1939 and designated as the official state song in 1977. Performers include Connick, the Marsalis Family, Tim McGraw, Rebirth Brass Band, Irma Thomas, The Zion Harmonizers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Buddy Guy, Buckwheat Zydeco, Trombone Shorty, Zachary Richard and Better Than Ezra. (No word on whether it'll include any sludge metal or bounce artists.)
"There's so much talent here, and so much passion in so many areas," Connick said.
The program will weave in several vignettes highlighting the state's agriculture, waterways, tourism and oil and gas industries — the vignettes will be written by Chris Rose and narrated by Connick.
The documentary airs Aug. 13 around the state and Aug. 14 in New Orleans on local affiliate WLAE. The music program airs later this year.
Eight Louisiana and Gulf Coast chefs — including John Folse and Galatoire's executive chef Michael Sichel — are on their way to London. BP will send them to the 2012 Olympic Games host city to fill it with a "dash of spice."
BP announced today via local public relations firm The Ehrhardt Group (of which BP is a client) that the "Spirit of the Gulf" events at the games will target "more than 1,000 people each day" to encourage them to visit the Gulf Coast, and "sample the world’s freshest and best-tasting seafood and experience the Gulf’s unique culture and distinctive attractions."
... the Gulf Coast’s finest are gearing up for a trip across the pond to deliver the ultimate good luck charm — Gulf Coast tastes and tunes. For four days during the 2012 Olympic Games, the ‘Spirit of the Gulf’ will introduce Team USA to a showcase of the Gulf Coast presented by BP.
BP's presence at the 2012 games has already set off a wave of protests — several of the company's massive billboards were smeared with "oil" and a campaign wants to remove BP as an Olympics sponsor.
BP vice president of government and public affairs Crystal Ashby said the company is "proud to use the power of the London 2012 Olympic Games" to promote the Gulf and show the company's "ongoing commitment to the community."
BP currently is spending millions in advertising during the international rush to London for the 2012 Olympic games, including a massive wraparound, marquee-style billboard featuring athletes bursting out the BP "sun" logo, alongside the slogan "Fuelling the Future." (The double "L" is their spelling.)
Yesterday, that billboard and other ads and surfaces throughout the city were vandalized — slapped with a "To Go BP Free in 2012" sticker or, in the billboard's case, smothered in "oil."
Stuffed sea animals covered in oil and placed outside the Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery and Royal Opera House. Signs and ads in the London Underground were sprayed with black "oil," and BP "sun" signs outside petrol stations were also hit.
Greenpeace filed many Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information, including photos, related to the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, it published photos related to an endangered species of turtle. It also published government aerial shots of oil in the Gulf and marshes.
Two long, essential reads spell out the still burning impact of the BP oil disaster, two years after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 men and sent millions of gallons of oil and chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico for months.
For Al Jazeera, Dahr Jamail looks at crustacean and fish populations in the Gulf and makes disturbing finds — seafood with tumors, lesions and deformities.
A statement to Al Jazeera from Gov. Bobby Jindal's office reads, "Gulf seafood has consistently tested lower than the safety thresholds established by the FDA for the levels of oil and dispersant contamination that would pose a risk to human health. ... Louisiana seafood continues to go through extensive testing to ensure that seafood is safe for human consumption. More than 3,000 composite samples of seafood, sediment and water have been tested in Louisiana since the start of the spill."
Except those thresholds are far lower than the amounts consumed in Louisiana. The FDA guidelines represent a national average, not a regional one.
The Political Desk has unearthed a real gem — a 1960 "public information service" newsreel by the American Petroleum Institute, which debunks the crazy theory that the oil industry might have some deleterious effect on the Louisiana oyster population ... as proven with a "two-million-dollar oyster research program!".
Back then, something was retarding the growth of oysters in the Gulf, so oil company scientists put some oysters in a tank and fed them a diet of crude oil and other gunk.
Surprise: "The test oysters were so happy they brought forth new generations – they never had it so good!"
Must be seen to be believed.
In Barataria Bay, scientists and researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have been studying bottlenose dolphins in the wake of the BP oil disaster.
The NOAA performed physicals on 32 dolphins in 2011, and today, the early results are dramatic: many are "underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease," and "nearly half also have abnormally low levels of the hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function." One of those dolphins died in early 2012.
An "Unusual Mortality Event" was declared by NOAA following a spike in dolphins entering (and dying in) the northern Gulf of Mexico — since February 2010, NOAA said, more than 675 dolphins have been stranded there (atypical of an average 74 per year). Most have died, but 33 were stranded alive, and seven were put into rehabilitation, according to NOAA.
NOAA told Baton Rouge's Advocate that though a link can't be made between the 2010 oil disaster and the plunge in dolphin health, it's been seen before.
The study was performed under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, a requirement under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
For someone who can't get in any of the GOP debates (though there's certainly room on the stage these days), Buddy Roemer sure knows how to get TV time. He's appeared on The Colbert Report several times with Stephen Colbert and once on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Now he's completing a comedy-pundit trifecta with a scheduled appearance on Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher. From HBO:
Real Time with Bill Maher continues its tenth season Friday, January 20th (10:00-11:00 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), exclusively on HBO, with an instant replay at 11:00 p.m. following the live presentation. Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists, and interviews with in-studio and satellite guests.
The roundtable guests this week are former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm, reporter Matt Lewis and former La. Gov. Buddy Roemer; commentator Bill Moyers and Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders are interview guests.
Hey, Buddy, while you're there: Why don't you ask Bill about that "New Rules" segment he did about Gulf Coast residents in the wake of the BP oil disaster?
And finally, New Rule: Stop talking about jobs being lost in a murderous, hateful industry like it's a bad thing. Now, last week, I may have hurt a few feelings when my response to the complaint that jobs will be lost in the offshore drilling business was, "F**k your jobs!" But, I meant it. And it goes double for burning coal and chopping down redwoods. Sorry, roughnecks*, but eventually, you're going to have to find something else to do. Try building windmills. You know what happens when windmills collapse into the sea? A splash.
You know, it's Washington gospel that jobs in the private sector are better than government jobs. You even hear Democrats saying it. But, oil jobs are private, and look at the toll this industry takes: cooking the planet, enslaving us to Saudi Arabia, killing animals. If the government hired away all the 58,000 oil workers who work now in the state of Louisiana and paid them their same salary to work repairing infrastructure and building solar panels, it would cost us $5.5 billion, which the Pentagon loses every day in the couch.
Wouldn't that be worth it? Is working on an oil rig really that great a job anyway? You spend weeks at a time on a floating well in the ocean. If you want to avoid your family that bad, take up golf. Yes, the oil industry creates jobs. So does the kiddie porn industry.
If Maher blamed Appalachian coal miners after mine collapses, I don't remember seeing it.
* I remember that word pretty clearly as 'rednecks,' not 'roughnecks,' but the HBO transcript has the latter.
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