Partnership Update

June 7, 2012

Save the Date!

The Partnership will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, August 21 and Wednesday, August 22 in Bay St. Louis, MS. The cost will be $50 and registration will begin soon.  Make plans to join us and receive the latest news regarding:

  • the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill restoration process;
  • funding for land conservation programs in the Gulf region; and
  • landscape-scale conservation planning.

Status of the RESTORE Act

The RESTORE Act is still in the Transportation bill which is in a conference committee. Members of the House and Senate are members are negotiating differences between the bills that the two houses passed earlier in the year. A news report from Tuesday stated that negotiations had broken down. On Wednesday, it was reported that  negotiations are going extremely well and a breakthrough should be announced within the hour. Bottom-line: the RESTORE Act is still in conference.


Update on Clean Water Act Fines: BP, Justice Department and Scientists at Odds Over Macondo Spill Rates

The battle over the Clean Water Act fines will be long, with many trips to the courthouse along the way. Clean Water Act fines will be levied by the federal government after a determination is made regarding the amount of oil spilled, and whether there was negligence by the responsible parties and/or proof that BP willfully underestimated the amount of the spill.

The Woods Hole Oceanic Institute (WHOI) was hired by the federal government to determine the rate of the spill.  WHOI used sonar technology to estimate the spill rate at 57,000 barrels a day from April 20 to July 15, when the well was capped. This added to a total release of 4.9 million barrels.  BP's internal measurement was a rate of 240 barrels a day to 38,000 barrels a day.

BP is vigorously challenging the rate that was published by WHOI in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  WHOI scientists have protested against what they see are attacks from BP.  BP has been successful in getting access to 3,000 confidential emails related to WHOI’s research regarding oil spill rates.

The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation to determine if BP officials lied to Congress regarding the rate of the spill.

This report is based on an article written by Gayathri Vaidyanathan, E&E reporter and an opinion piece written by WHOI scientists.

 

Everglades Restoration Plan Announced

The South Florida Water Management District recently released a 12-year, $880 million plan to restore the Everglades. The plan would create five stormwater treatment areas, covering about 57,000 acres, to filter phosphorus from fertilizer that helps unhealthy vegetation, killing off native plants. Learn more.


EPA Releases Fact Sheet on the Economic Benefits of Protecting Healthy Watersheds

EPA’s Healthy Watersheds Initiative is intended to protect the Nation’s remaining healthy watersheds, prevent them from becoming impaired, and accelerate restoration successes. The fact sheet describes studies that demonstrate protecting healthy watersheds can reduce capital costs for water treatment plants and reduce damages to property and infrastructure due to flooding, thereby avoiding future costs. View the fact sheet.


As If Fundraising Weren’t Hard Enough…

Researchers from Rice University and University of Texas find that liberals and conservatives respond differently to fundraising pitches. According to one of the study’s authors, Republicans' moral foundations are embedded in respect for authority and traditions, loyalty and purity; Democrats' moral foundations are rooted in equality and protection from harm. Democrats respond to messages about people in need whereas Republicans respond to messages about people who follow traditions and respect authority. Fundraisers would be wise to take note. Learn more.


Ducks Unlimited Urge Sportsmen to Support LWCF and RESTORE Funding in Transportation Bill

Key sportsmen's groups in the Gulf Coast region<http://www.ducks.org/conservation/where-we-work/gulf-coastal-prairie/?poe=release> called on Congress on June 6 to maintain provisions for funding land conservation and Gulf Coast restoration in their negotiations on a final transportation authorization bill. In a teleconference, representatives of the Berkley Conservation Institute (PureFishing), Ducks Unlimited and the Louisiana Wildlife Federation outlined the critical importance of ensuring that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the RESTORE Act<http://www.ducks.org/conservation/public-policy/gulf-coast/directing-cwa-penalties-back-to-restoration-efforts-in-the-gulf?poe=release> provision included in the Senate's version of the bill are retained during conference negotiations. Learn more.


Wells Fargo Launches $100 million Environmental Program

The effort began with a $15-million, five-year commitment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The larger grant program will aim to promote sustainable agriculture and forestry, land and water conservation, urban ecosystems, and clean energy. Learn more.


August 17 Grant Deadline for Tidal Hydology Restoration Projects

NOAA and MASG have announced a request for proposals for a grant competition to fund tidal hydrology restoration projects. To be considered, projects must remove or modify human-built barriers (such as culverts and bridges) to restore historic tidal estuarine and freshwater exchange to benefit coastal and marine fisheries habitat. Projects also must be located from Key West, Fla., to Brownsville, Texas. Local, county and state governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, communities, homeowner associations and universities are eligible. Projects can receive up to $100,000, and a match is required. View submission details.

Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands Meeting Registration Open

Join colleagues in Corpus Christi, Texas to address issues such as water quality, sea level rise, and habitat conservation. The meeting will be held at the Omni Bayfront Hotel & Marina June 19 – 21. View registration information.

 

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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