Thursday, March 29, 2007

Swell Shell?

What great news! The Gumbo Alliance (the Sierra Club were of course founding members) was finally victorious in our opposition to Shell's fish-killing, off-shore LNG terminal, Gulf Landing. Congrats and great work to all who made this possible - the sportsmen and concerned citizens who flooded Shell and Governor Blanco with faxes, phone calls and postcards; the funders who paid for the banner we towed over the Shell-sponsored Jazz Fest last year (Shell - Thanks for the music, don't kill our fish) and allowed Mike Lane and I to head to the Hague to take our concerns directly to Shell's CEO, President, Board and Shareholders; the fishermen who trailered their boats and circled Shell gas stations and head quarters in New Orleans, Houston and Pensacola; the agency scientists and concerned citizens who sorted through the various, often erroneous environmental impact statement appendices to really get a handle on what kind of fish impacts were at stake; the dogged concerned citizens who showed up at hearing after hearing to speak out in opposition to these projects; the Club canvassers who went door to door throughout New Orleans alerting the public; the Green Corps organizers who went where the fight was and joined us in the Gulf for a few crazy months; Walter Williams, who put Mr. Bill and his wit to work for the cause; the charter boat captains and commercial and recreational fishermen who packed the hearing in Baton Rouge and ensured some political leadership on this issue; the politicians who followed that public outcry; every founding and supporting member of the Gumbo Alliance; and finally, the student attorneys and their instructors who stood in there against the department of justice to challenge MARAD's flawed permit (and likely bought us the time we needed to win).

Whew. A lot of people put a lot of time and resources into this fight. It really shows what can be done when disparate interests put aside their disagreements to focus on a single issue and bring their passion and expertise to bear.

And whatever reasoning Shell uses to explain this decision, today is an important day for fish and the health of the Gulf. Thanks again for making it happen.

Aaron Viles
Delta Chapter

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hurricane Katrina revisited: a book review of The Storm

Last week's stinging report lambasting the Army Corps of Engineers for its failure to build adequate levees to protect New Orleans was written by "Team Louisiana," headed by Dr. Ivor van Heerden of Louisiana State University. He published a book last year titled, The Storm: What went wrong and why during Hurricane Katrina--the inside story from one Louisiana scientist ($17 at

Dr. van Heerden is cofounder and deputy directory of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center and director of the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes. He holds a Ph.D. in marine sciences from LSU, and serves as associate professor of civil and environmental engineering there. Van Heerden had a very unique perspective of Katrina. He worked tirelessly in the decade leading up to the storm to improve our scientific understanding of how Louisiana's wetlands protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 reads Sierra magazine, do you?

TreeHugger is a fast-growing web magazine, dedicated to everything that has a modern aesthetic yet is environmentally responsible. Their goal is to make sustainability mainstream. If you want doom & gloom, don't go here. They are looking for solutions, constructive developments and positive initiatives, just like we are.

They read Sierra magazine, the magazine of the Sierra Club, and they like it. If you are a member of the Sierra Club, you already get the magazine as part of your membership. If you don't get Sierra, all you need to do is join the Sierra Club. It's easy to join online.

As sea ice goes, so goes land ice?

The Arctic Ocean has a real possibility of becoming ice free for the first time since the last ice age due to rising global temperatures. If oceanic ice continues to melt, how long will continental ice stored on Greenland and Antarctica last before it melts too? Melting ocean ice will not cause a rise in sea levels but melting continental ice will. What would that mean for low lying areas like Louisiana? It would certainly not be pretty.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

U. S. to follow Australia and California's lead on lighting?

As California-and Australia and Europe-goes, so (should) go the nation. That's why it's time for the country to phase out inefficient energy-consuming light-bulbs.

Small idea. Big impact.

Today, I introduced a bill to require all light bulbs produced or used in the U.S. to meet current fluorescent bulb standards (60 lumens per watt) by 2012, 90 lumens by 2016, and 120 by 2020.

Read more by following the URL below.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

LAST CHANCE: The fight to save a disappearing coast

This is the recently published excellent series of articles from the New Orleans Times-Picayune about the fight to save Louisiana's rapidly eroding coastline.