Partnership Update

March 22, 2013

BP Loses Bid to Dismiss Gross Negligence in Spill Trial

Bloomberg News reports that federal judge Carl Barbier denied a motion by BP to eliminate the possibility of a finding of gross negligence that might trigger fines as much as $17.6 billion in the trial over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP’s lawyer Andrew Langan asked Judge Barbier to disallow a gross-negligence finding as lawyers for the plaintiffs suing the company rested their case.

“We don’t think there has been a finding of gross negligence” against BP, Langan said, only to be immediately rebuffed by the judge in the nonjury trial.

For BP, a finding of gross negligence would mean the company might be liable to the U.S. for as much as $17.6 billion in Clean Water Act fines, as well as unspecified punitive damages to claimants who weren’t part of a $8.5 billion settlement the company reached with most private party plaintiffs last year. View a summary of this week’s arguments >>

Mardi Gras Pass: Complicating Coastal Restoration in Louisiana

According to Bob Marshall, the environment reporter from The Lens, the Mississippi River opened a gap on its east bank about 35 miles south of New Orleans during the Mardi Gras 2011 flood.

John Lopez, director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, says that the pass is providing Mississippi River sediment to the marsh for free and that policymakers should embrace this opportunity. “Putting the river back into the marsh is a central theme of the state’s Master Plan – something we will be spending billions to achieve,” Lopez has argued.   

However, at least one local business finds that the natural diversion has created a big problem. The water severed road access to a nearby oil and gas field that Sundown Energy has used for six years. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority supports closing the new pass at least temporarily — even though its mission is to restore the coast vanishing wetlands. This natural, but unplanned, river diversion is another example of how complicated coastal restoration can be. More >>

Spring Ushers in Busy Season of Educational and Fundraising Events for Gulf Coast Land Trusts

The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast Hosted Successful Ball.
More than 200 party-goers attended the 6th Annual Palm Ball in Osprey, FL on February 9, 2013 to raise funds for conservation. The Ball was held at Bay Preserve at Osprey, a 4.3 acre nature preserve with views of Little Sarasota Bay. Event organizers used the event to connect attendees to the Foundation’s mission. Funds were raised through a ‘Paddle Raise’ event during which attendees purchased nature-themed experiences such as beach parties and kayak fishing trips.  More than $400,000 was raised.

Weeks Bay Foundation to Hold the 4th Annual Bald Eagle Bash

Plans are underway for the 2013 Bald Eagle Bash, to be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013. The annual fundraiser for the Weeks Bay Foundation will take place from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the waterfront Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center at the Fish River Bridge on U.S. Highway 98 in Fairhope. For additional information, contact the Foundation office at (251) 990-5004.

The Second Annual Oyster Tasting: A Taste of Galveston Bay Reef Oysters will be sponsored by the Galveston Bay Foundation

The event will honor Dr. Sammy Ray, Renowned Oyster Biologist and Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Guests will learn more about GBF’s expanding Oyster Shell Recycling, Gardening, and Reef Restoration programs while enjoying an array of appetizers, an oyster appellation tasting, and complimentary beer and wine. The Oyster Tasting will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar.  Tickets may be purchased for $50 in advance from Tommy’s or the Galveston Bay Foundation.  Contact Jessica at 281-332-3381x213 or jcurran@galvbay.org for more information.

Study Reports Healthy Numbers for Juvenile Fish, Shrimp and Crabs in Alabama Marsh After Oil Spill

A three-year study of an Alabama marsh suggests the 2010 BP spill had little effect on the number of juvenile fish, shrimp and crabs living there before and after the disaster.

There was a drop in the number of daggerblade shrimp, the most common resident of the marsh, during the year of the spill, but their numbers returned to pre-spill levels the following year. The spill did not appear to affect the abundance of other animals using the marsh, including blue crabs, brown and white shrimp, mullet, and various snapper species, according to the study. The study was titled, “Interannual Recruitment Dynamics for Resident and Transient Marsh Species: Evidence for a Lack of Impact by the Macondo Oil Spill," and conducted by researchers from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. More >>

Partners Make Contributions

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation would like to thank the following partner organizations for financial contributions: National Audubon Society, Tall Timbers Land Conservancy, Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, Galveston Bay Foundation, Pelican Coast Conservancy, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the Nature Conservancy, and the Trust for Public Land.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Will Host All Hands Meeting In Tampa, Florida

The general membership meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance is referred to as the ‘All Hands’ meeting. The event will be held June 25 – 27 at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt in Tampa, Florida. One of the highlights of the event will be the announcement of the recipients of this year’s Gulf Guardian Awards. The public is invited to attend. More >>

Contact

Julia Weaver
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation
Ocean Springs, MS
228-219-2279
jweaver@lta.org

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is organized under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance which provides administrative and fiscal support.

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