Partnership Update

February 22, 2013

The Land Trust Alliance Encourages Advocacy on Key Issues

Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, encourages conservationists to meet with members of Congress during the February recess. The Alliance recommends two talking points: ask your Senators and Representatives to block any attempt to cap charitable giving and encourage them to make the conservation easement incentive a permanent part of the tax code.

UPDATE on PGCLC Funding Campaign with Partners

The PGCLC has asked its partners to make financial contributions to assist with operating expenses. This funding will support the organization as we continue work on the Conservation Vision and other key projects. This week we are pleased to recognize the National Audubon Society, the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy, and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain for their contributions.  We would also like to recognize the Galveston Bay Foundation, the Pelican Bay Conservancy, and the Trust for Public Land for their financial support.

BP Agreement Could Reduce Oil Spill Fines

According to the Washington Post, the Department of Justice has agreed that BP will not have to pay penalties on the barrels of crude oil that the company was able to recapture during the Deepwater Horizon spill.  This may cut the company’s potential Clean Water Act fines by as much as $3.5 billion. More information >>

Gulf Coast Business Leaders Support Ecosystem Restoration

A group of 120 business leaders are urging the Governors of the five Gulf states to allocate RESTORE Act funds to rebuild the Gulf Coast’s ecosystem. According to the business leaders, restoration projects will create jobs and will support the traditional industries of the region such as seafood and tourism. More information >>

BP Trial Over Clean Water Act Fines Creates Uncertainty

Unless a settlement is reached in the next few days, BP will return to court on Monday to face tens of billions of dollars in civil claims from the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that could cripple the company for years to come.

“BP and the government are taking a high-stakes gamble by going to trial,” said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and a former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section, who expressed surprise that talks appear to have broken down. “The fate of Gulf Coast recovery efforts and billions of dollars in Clean Water Act penalties hang in the balance. Unless cooler heads prevail, and a settlement is reached, it now may be years before there is any certainty for BP and communities along the gulf.”

Some pundits insist that a last minute settlement will be reached, as the uncertainty of a trial is not in the interests of the government nor the oil giant. More information >>

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Sponsors Public Meetings

The Council has been directed by Congress to develop a comprehensive plan that will guide the expenditures of 30% of the RESTORE funds by July 6, 2013. Congress has furthered directed that the plan should include a list of projects to be funded in the first three years of the program. A series of public meetings has been scheduled to get input on the projects that should be included in the plan. Three of the meetings have been held. The two remaining will be in Louisiana and Florida

February 21, 5:00 PM
Lake Charles Civic Center,
Lake Charles, LA

February 28, 6:00 PM
Gulf Coast State College
Panama City Beach, FL

Houma Residents Speak Out at Restoration Council Meeting

A public meeting was held in Houma on Tuesday, February 19.  Residents urged action. “A lot of us have been coming to meetings for many, many years,” said United Houma Nation Chief Thomas Dardar. “The test is now. We’ve done the studies. You know the urgency because we’re fishing where we once planted crops.”

Several attendees asked the council to consider creating a community advisory council so that vulnerable residents can better weigh in on how oil spill fine dollars are spent.  “We’ve experienced natural and man-made disasters, and I think it has left a lot of community members feeling helpless,” said Donald Bogen, a community organizer with BISCO, a multifaith community nonprofit group. More information >>

Mississippi Residents Call for Environmental Restoration, Community Advisory Council at Biloxi Meeting

The RESTORE Council held a public meeting in Biloxi, MS on Tuesday, February 19 to get public input. More than 250 community members attended. Conservation organizations were well-represented and all echoed the sentiment that restoring the environment restores the economy. Chris Canfield, a PGCLC member representing the National Audubon Society stated, “The oil spill has provided an opportunity to do what has been needed for decades -- provide a comprehensive, cross-agency, cross-state approach to restoration.  What you all can do is bring the overarching perspective that's missing." Speakers also called for the creation of a community advisory council.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Announces All Hands Meeting

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 information >>

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team Announces Meeting in Biloxi, MS

The HCRT will meet in Biloxi at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino on March 18, 2013.  Sub-committees on sea level rise, sediment management, and partnerships with industry will provide reports. Please email Suraida Nañez-James at suraida@gulfmex.org to RSVP.

Florida Invites the Public to Submit Projects for RESTORE Act Funding

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has created an online project submittal form for public input to guide RESTORE Act projects.  Priority will be give to projects that address the following: 1) stormwater/wastewater infrastructure; 2) community resilience/living shorelines; 3) water quality; 4) agricultural best management practices; and 5) fish and wildlife habitat. More 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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Tennesseans partner to expand Cumberland Trail State Park

Tennesseans partner to expand Cumberland Trail State Park

TN- In what beautiful park can you fish, hike, whitewater paddle, swim or rock climb? The answer is the Cumberland Trail State Park, and the Land Trust for Tennessee recently helped to add 3,200 acres and 10 linear miles to this important area.

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