Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sierra Club Delta Chapter in Louisiana endorses J.P. Morrell for Louisiana State Senate District 3

Sierra Club Delta Chapter in Louisiana supports J.P. Morrell for election to represent Louisiana State Senate District 3, New Orleans. The Sierra Club appreciates Senator Morrell’s work to improve the health and protect the environment for residents of New Orleans and the people of Louisiana. Recent examples of his actions to represent all of the people in the state include his decisions to hold field meetings of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on proposed gas storage in salt domes at Jefferson Island and on the paper mill toxic discharge and fish kill in the Pearl River. The Sierra Club appreciates Senator Morrell’s support for a sustainable economy that does not sacrifice the natural environment of Louisiana, and which supports jobs and quality of life for Louisiana residents.

Sierra Club Delta Chapter is also supporting without public endorsement the candidacies of Steve Ortego in the 39th Representative District and Jack Montoucet in the 42nd Representative District. Representative District 39 extends north of Lafayette to include Carencro, Cankton, Arnaudville and Leonville. Representative District 42 extends west from Duson including Crowley and Mermentau. The Delta Chapter has interviewed the candidates to determine that their positions on issues relating to health and environment are deserving of our support. We are currently looking for volunteers to help make phone calls for these candidates in the final days before the election. If you would like to help please send an email to Woody Martin hrmartin2sc@gmail.com

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sierra Club Position on RESTORE Act


  • In late July, a bipartisan delegation of Gulf Coast Senators introduced the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act, or the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act (S. 1400).
  • The bill would direct 80% of the anticipated Clean Water Act (CWA) fines levied against BP to the five Gulf Coast states.
  • This reflects Navy Secretary Mabus’ and the National Oil Spill Commission’s recommendations as well as the repeated requests of Gulf residents and regional and national non-profits and community leaders, including the Sierra Club.
  • On September 21st the bill was marked up and passed out of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee.

Our Position: Strengthen the RESTORE Bill

  • Throughout the recovery process, the Sierra Club has stressed that in order for meaningful restoration to occur, the fundamental principles of transparency, accountability, and independent science are needed at all levels.
  • While the RESTORE Bill is a step in the right direction (i.e. 80% CWA fines to the Gulf), it lacks adequate safeguards to support these principles.
  • Therefore, the Sierra Club cannot support the RESTORE Bill in its current form.
  • In order to secure our support, we will work to strengthen the bill through the following improvements:
    • Establish a Science Advisory Committee to provide independent input on restoration project selection, implementation, and monitoring processes.
    • Require an annual legislative audit by the Government Accounting Office or an independent auditor located outside the Gulf Coast.
    • Require the Gulf states and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to establish formal public comment periods and to hold public hearings for all plans, projects, and programs developed with this funding.
    • Create a permanent Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (RCAC) comprised of community leaders and stakeholders from the Gulf Coast to improve communications and provide long-term oversight of future oil industry actions.
    • Require all plans and projects developed with these funds be consistent with the efforts of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, and be approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
    • Include a special clause to ensure funds prioritize ecosystem restoration over economic development, such as: 
      • “Amounts provided under this bill may not be used for activities that destroy or degrade the health, diversity, or viability of coastal or marine ecosystems” or “No more than 10% of the funds received by a state in any fiscal year may be spent on projects that are primarily intended for economic development rather than restoration of coastal or marine ecosystems.”
    • Remove language that allows states to sue the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council in federal court if the Council fails to act within 60 days or rejects a state’s project.

Questions/More information:  Jill Mastrototaro at jill.mastrototaro@sierraclub.org /504.861.4835