April 2016 Newsletter

BATON ROUGE – (On April 4) the Court approved the settlement between the United States, the five Gulf States and BP for damages stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Consent Decree outlines more than $20 billion in damages. Louisiana will receive a minimum of $6.8 billion for claims related to natural resource damages under the Oil Pollution Act, Clean Water Act civil penalties, and the State’s various economic claims.
AWF participated in Coastal Day at the State Legislature on April 4, 2016, at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. In the morning session, AWF Senior Advisor Sidney Coffee made a presentation on the importance of private investment in coastal restoration to legislators, the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities and representatives of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
AWF then hosted legislators, along with other non-governmental and environmental organizations, in the Capitol lobby, promoting its work with the public and distributing Foundation literature. Eddie the Eagle, one of the Foundation’s Estuarian mascots, was on hand to greet legislators to show how restoring Louisiana’s coast impacts marine life and wildlife that rely on the coast.


On Wednesday, April 5, AWF Managing Director Val Marmillion joined New Orleans’ WWL radio host Garland Robinette on the “Think Tank” to discuss the latest report from the science journal, “Nature,” which said that in 80 years the Gulf of Mexico will overtake Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes

Marmillion talked about the effects of climate change and sea level rise on coastal Louisiana and how we must rely on science, not politics, to turn back the rising tide.

“Everything shouldn’t be political games in Louisiana,” Marmillion said. “We have to take the best knowledge we have – most of it grown in Louisiana by our universities – and apply that knowledge to the coastal master plan developed over the past 10 years. It’s the only way to turn back the tide to rebuild these low-lying areas in Louisiana’s lower parishes.”

In response to the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the federal government and specific agencies of government acted to ensure that Gulf Coast oil and gas operations were conducted with utmost safety. The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) is concerned that some provisions of the proposed Well Control Rule proposed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) could have unintended consequences leading to less safety and environmental protection and a reduction in overall revenue sharing directed to financing coastal restoration.
On September 21, 2010, AWF issued a report, “Secure Gulf Project: Sustaining Natural Resources and the Communities of America’s Energy Coast.” The report was a quick response to the BP Oil Spill and recommended both regulatory and voluntary actions. It also noted President Obama’s comment on the spill in August 2010, when he said, “The real protection for New Orleans and the coast are wetlands. The oil spill is a new opportunity for us to take a look comprehensively and ask how do we do things better and how do we do things smarter than we have done.”
Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana (CNN) – Wenceslaus Billiot, an 89-year-old with suede-soft eyes and a bayou-French accent, asked me to follow him onto the second-story balcony of his stork-legged house here in the southern Louisiana marshland.
He held up a broom made of dried palmetto leaves and pointed way off into the distance.
See that tiny water tower? he asked.
The tower was on the horizon — so distant that it appeared to be only about as tall as my pen was wide. Aside from a few tufts of marsh between us and the tower, there was mostly water.
All of that used to be solid land, he told me.
Now: “There’s nothing but water.”
This isn’t some back-in-the-day, old-folks-exaggerating type of story. As Billiot knows all too well, the marsh of Louisiana’s fragile coast is disappearing at a mind-blowing rate.
A football field of land, on average, falls into the Gulf each hour.
That bears repeating: A football field of land, per hour, gone.

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council will receive more than $4.4 billion in Clean Water Act (CWA) penalties resulting from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The funds are dedicated to the restoration of the Gulf Coast and will be awarded over the next 15 years.
Other funds include a $1 billion settlement with Transocean for CWA penalties and $159.5 million from Anadarko Petroleum.
To learn more about the RESTORE council and its work, visit RESTORETHEGULF.GOV.
On Tuesday, May 3, the Greater New Orleans Foundation with host its annual the community’s one-day, online giving event to inspire people to give generously to the nonprofit organizations that are making our region stronger, creating a thriving community for all. America’s WETLAND Foundation is asking for your donation to help protect and enhance the rich, natural, cultural and economic resources found along the Gulf Coast and to help fulfill its mission to raise public awareness of the impact Louisiana’s wetland loss has on the state, nation and world.
Every dollar donated from midnight May 3 to midnight May 4 will be increased with additional “lagniappe” dollars provided by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and generous GiveNOLA Day sponsors.
To participate in GiveNOLA Day, individuals can make online donations at GiveNOLA.com. The minimum donation is $10.