Government, BP LLC Experts Spar Over the Amount of Oil Spilled During Deepwater Horizon Accident
The federal trial to determine the amount of criminal fines owed by BP LLC has continued for the past two weeks. The testimony has been very technical, with dueling experts from the Department of Justice and BP LLC arguing over the methods used to calculate the amount of oil spilled. Both sides expect to wrap up their arguments on Friday, October 17. At the end of the trial, Federal Judge Carl Barbier will determine how much money BP LLC will owe in criminal fines -- based upon whether and how much BP LLC was negligent and how much oil was released into the Gulf of Mexico. Commentators believe that the fine will be between $12 and $20 billion. 80% of the fines will be used to invest in the Gulf region’s economy and environment under the terms of the RESTORE Act. See more information on this phase of the trial in a Times-Picayune article »
Movement on Farm Bill Expected
The Land Trust Alliance expects that work on the Farm Bill will resume now that the government shut down as been resolved. Achieving a consensus will be challenging since the House and Senate are still billions of dollars apart on nutrition/food stamps. The senate bill includes the cost share waiver plus $150 million more in funding for the recently merged Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). If your senator or representative is a conferee, it’s imperative that you call 202-224-3121 right away and let them know how important these programs are to their constituents and communities.
In the Senate, Thad Cochran (MS), is the only conferee from a Gulf State. House Conferees from the Gulf States are:
- Randy Neugebauer/TX
- Mike Conaway/TX
- Martha Roby/AL
- Steve Southerland/FL
- Sam Johnson/TX
- Filemon Vela/TX
For more information on the Farm Bill, review the Alliance Advocates Alert »
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Encourages Public to Submit Restoration Ideas
On Thursday, October 16, MDEQ Executive Director Trudy Fisher announced that Mississippi is looking for additional ideas for restoration projects in the state. With $800 million available from the RESTORE Act, MSDEQ is asking for input from the people of South Mississippi about how to revitalize the Gulf Coast after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The $800 million comes from criminal fines from Transocean and does not include fines owed by BP LLC. Beginning immediately, the public can visit the website to submit their ideas for projects to restore the area. The website, which guides users through the step-by-step process of suggesting project ideas, also has information on current and upcoming projects and the RESTORE Act. Read more »
More Oil Found on Louisiana Beaches after Tropical Storm Karen
Even though Tropical Storm Karen was downgraded to a tropical depression before it reached land, the storm deposited hundreds of pounds of oily debris ashore. Contractors picked up about 512 pounds of tar balls and 379 pounds of oiled debris off almost 15 miles of Louisiana beaches this week in a cleanup effort in the wake of Tropical Storm Karen. In addition, the Coast Guard says it recovered 4,100 pounds of a tar mat discovered under the sand at Fourchon beach. Read more information »
More Wind Farms in Coastal Texas Expected
Wind farms located in the Texas plains have proved less reliable than hoped because the winds often die down during the hot afternoon hours. However, the winds along the state’s Gulf of Mexico shores blow more steadily and more wind farms are planned in the region.
Projects have confronted opposition from landowners and environmental groups concerned about the threat to migrating birds and sullied coastal views, but they’re still getting done. Coastal wind farms will make up about 20 percent of the 5,959 megawatts of the additional wind power expected to come online in Texas though 2015, according to a May report by the state grid operator and Bloomberg Energy Finance. Read more information »
Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant Program Has November 1st Deadline
NOAA recently announced the FY2014 Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant opportunity. The principal objective of the program is to provide federal financial and technical assistance to grass-roots, community-based activities that improve living marine resource habitats through the removal of marine debris. The program is also designed to promote stewardship and a conservation ethic for NOAA trust resources. Nonprofits are eligible to apply. A cost-share or match is required. The estimated total program funding is $2 million with an award ceiling of $250,000. The closing date for grant applications is Nov. 1, 2013. Read more information »
EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program Partnership Opportunity Announced
Successful proposals for this opportunity will address the following priorities: (1) water quality monitoring and/or improvement; (2) coastal habitat and ecosystems enhancement and/or protection; (3) community resilience; and (4) environmental education on one or more of the following: water quality, coastal habitat and ecosystems, and community resilience. These projects must be in the Gulf of Mexico region and its watersheds in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, including their out-of-geographic-region contributory watersheds. Project awards will be between $50,000 and $300,000. The deadline for submitting a proposal is November 12, 2013. Read more information »
Training Course on Ecological Restoration Offered
A three day ecological restoration class will be offered by the Apalachicola Bay, Grand Bay, and Weeks Bay Reserves. Participants will learn the principles of ecological restoration including information on restoring specific coastal habitats. The training will be held November 12 – 14 at the Grand Bay Reserve in Moss Point, MS. For more information contact Larissa J. Graham at 228-475-7047 or visit the website.
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation
Ocean Springs, MS
The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is organized under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance which provides administrative and fiscal support.