Last month, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed a rule that would considerably change the implementing regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (ELI’s guide to the proposed regulations is available here). NEPA requires that major Federal actions undergo environmental review before being carried out. The review process involves examining environmental impacts and alternative actions, consulting interested parties, and identifying mitigation; and, while procedural in scope, it aims to ensure that environmental considerations are incorporated in government decisionmaking.
Even with extensive planning and design efforts, when restoration projects are implemented unanticipated impacts may arise. Through adaptive management, an ongoing process of monitoring and adjusting plans based on observed results, agencies can minimize negative effects and maximize the positive ones by making necessary modifications as issues emerge.
The Gulf Coast region historically is known for producing more seafood than anywhere else in the continental U.S., both in volume and dollar value. However, since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, fishing communities along the coast who depend upon healthy and vibrant marine habitats have experienced significant financial instability. Over the last decade, oil spills, hurricanes, and severe algal blooms have contributed to significant declines in Gulf seafood landings and stock quality.
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year! In honor of this milestone, ELI is dedicating additional programming each month to a different aspect of our mission. In July, we have been reflecting specifically on how environmental justice informs our work as an organization. ELI's Taylor Lilley and Lovinia Reynolds have authored a blog on environmental justice along the Gulf Coast, where challenges like flooding, land loss, or the destruction of an oil spill hit some communities harder than others. Taylor and Lovinia also reflect on the Gulf Team's ongoing process of learning how best to support and amplify the work of local environmental justice leaders. Read the blog, Bridging the Gulf: Environmental Justice and Spill Restoration.
To coincide with the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees' annual public meetings earlier this month, the ELI Gulf team has updated our informational factsheets on each of seven Trustee Implementation Groups (TIGs): Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Open Ocean, and Regionwide. These factsheets explore how each TIG has committed its restoration funding to date, how much funding remains for the different restoration types, and how the public can engage with the NRDA process. Read on.
The newest installment of our "Why I Participate in Gulf Restoration" blog series shares the story of Alanderia Whitlock, a native of Gulfport, MS. Alanderia is a journalist and community advocate who has recently founded a social media platform for residents of the Gulf Coast to learn about and share opportunities for engaging in their communities. She spoke with us about what motivates her work to restore and improve her community.
Read more about Alanderia in "Lifting up Gulf Voices: A Snapshot of Gulfport, MS Resident and Community Advocate Alanderia Whitlock."
Event on February 14, 2020 via Webinar
A webinar hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio explored tools for municipalities (and their NGO partners) looking to address flooding in coastal Mississippi, with a primary focus on green infrastructure and wetlands.
The webinar featured examples of green infrastructure projects and economic benefits of green infrastructure solutions. Panelists also provided information on how municipalities can improve infrastructure resilience by considering extreme weather events and increased precipitation during planning; the identification and strategic preservation of wetlands to maximize protection from flooding; and funding that may be available for projects that address flooding at the municipal or neighborhood level.
For presentation slides and a recording of the webinar, click here.
Event on June 6, 2018 in Gulfport, MS
It has been more than eight years since the start of the BP oil spill. In that time, many steps have been taken to restore and recover the Gulf. This includes the approval of numerous plans, programs, and restoration projects. As Gulf restoration and recovery efforts continue to move forward, how can the public engage and help shape restoration?
To help members of the public better understand how to get involved, ELI, along with Environmental Management Services, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, and Public Lab, co-sponsored an event on “Engaging in the Gulf Restoration Processes: How the Public Can Help Shape Restoration.” The goal of this event was to provide participants with tools and information that they can use to more effectively engage in the restoration and recovery efforts.
Click here for the draft agenda.
Event on March 27, 2018 in Gulfport, MS
As a result of the BP oil spill, billions of dollars are going to restoration and recovery efforts in the Gulf, with most of that money going to restoration projects. Although there are many different types, restoration projects can be technical and difficult to understand. So how are members of the public supposed to make heads or tails of them?
To help the public better understand how to evaluate restoration projects, the Environmental Law Institute, in partnership with Steps Coalition, Audubon Mississippi, National Wildlife Federation, and Ocean Conservancy, hosted an in-person event in Gulfport, MS on “Making Heads or Tails of BP Oil Spill Restoration Projects.”
The event convened experts to cover topics such as how to navigate through restoration projects to understand when one “good” project could be prioritized over another, how to deal with scientific uncertainty, and how restoration projects work in practice. The goal of this event was to provide participants with tools and information about restoration projects so that they can more effectively engage in the restoration and recovery efforts moving forward.
Click here for agenda