Spring 2005 Gulf Currents Newsletter

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Inside this issue: The ADEM Reform Commission keeps an eye on new ADEM director; Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use issues report stating some coastal forests cannot recover from logging; The Citizens' Agenda for Rivers; An introduction to LNG; Member spotlight - Louisiana Wildlife Federation; Action Alert on Shell LNG terminal



Volume 9, Issue 1 March 2005

by Casi Callaway, Mobile Bay Watch, Inc./Mobile Baykeeper

Inside this issue:
Report confirms that some coastal forests cannot regenerate Watershed activists focus on Citizens’ Agenda for Rivers LNG: What it is, why it is threatening the Gulf Member Spotlight on Louisiana Wildlife Federation Take Action: tell Shell to protect our fisheries

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Alabama currently ranks 50th in the nation in spending on matters of environmental protection. Not surprisingly, the state was among the last in the country to create an environmental protection agency, and it did so only at the federal government’s behest. Even then the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) served as little more than a “one-stop” permitting shop. ADEM’s lax enforcement of permits over the years and failure to collect fines from known violators have made headlines and brought even more negative attention to the state. In 2002, however, environmental organizations decided to join forces and bring positive change to ADEM. The ADEM Reform Coalition (ARC)—guided and supported by Mobile Bay Watch, Inc/Mobile Baykeeper, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Alabama Environmental Council, Alabama African American Environmental Justice Action Network, Cahaba River Society, and many others— proposed a “Blueprint for ADEM Reform” that focused on four major problems at ADEM: leadership, enforcement, funding, and public participation. The Blueprint provides a constructive Former ADEM Director Jim Warr. analysis and achievable set of recommendations that will help ADEM become an agency that fulfills its mission and that is accountable to the public it serves. The ARC has made great progress. Of the 22 changes proposed in the Blueprint, the ARC has achieved 25% and has a plan for bringing about the next 25%. The most notable change is the replacement of ADEM’s long-time director Jim Warr, whose unwillingness to work toward environmental protection has long been a source of contention between the ARC and state leaders. ADEM’s board of directors terminated Warr’s tenure as director on October 19, 2004. ADEM’s new director, Trey Glenn, must make certain that it upholds its mission to “protect and improve the quality of Alabama’s environment and the health of all its citizens” if he hopes to gain the support of the environmental community in Alabama. Alabama is at a crossroads. Will the new ADEM director work for the people of Alabama or will he allow environmental violations to continue unchecked? The ARC will monitor Mr. Glenn’s progress and will work to ensure that Alabama remains a place its residents can be proud to call home.

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Special points of interest:
♦ Coastal wetland
forests will be lost if harvesting continues in certain areas.

♦ Citizens’ Agenda for
Rivers identifies three main threats: eroding water quality, insufficient water for river health, and urban sprawl.

♦ Twenty-two LNG
facilities proposed for the western Gulf.

♦ New GRN webpage:

Louisiana’s swamp forests provide critical habitat for many wildlife species and play an important role in maintaining water quality and coastal integrity. Sadly, they are threatened by a growing market for cypress mulch. In the past, these forests could regenerate after logging. However, a January 2005 draft report by the Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use (SWG) confirms that the hydrologic changes in Louisiana have resulted in many areas where regeneration is no longer possible. seeds cannot germinate in standing water, and seedlings cannot survive flooding that is above foliage levels and lasts more than 45 days. This does not mean that none of our existing coastal wetland forests can regenerate. The SWG scientists have identified three “condition classes” for the coastal wetland forests: Class I: Sites with Potential for Natural Regeneration; Class II: Sites with the Potential for Artificial Regeneration Only (through use of aggressive reforestation techniques); and Class III: Sites with No Potential for either Natural or Artificial Regeneration.

Losing Louisiana’s coastal forests would have significant environmental repercussions. They are home to six threatened or endangered fish and wildlife Harvesting of permanently flooded A cypress tree in Mandalay National Wildlife species. They are important to the Refuge, Louisiana. stands will eventually lead to major migration of virtually all the eastern changes in species composition of landbird species in the U.S., as well as numerous coastal forests, lower productivity, and conversion species from the western U.S. They also benefit to marsh or open water. Aggressive artificial humans by providing flood storage, maintaining regeneration could prevent some of these changes, water quality, and storing carbon, thereby slowing but it is impractical or impossible in most cases. the buildup of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere. Over the next few months, the SWG will be finalizing its report for presentation to the governor of Louisiana. Although the findings and Historically, Louisiana’s coastal wetland forests recommendations of the draft report may be were intimately connected to the Mississippi River modified, the meaning of those findings and and its tributaries. However, the construction of flood-protection levees has isolated south Louisiana recommendations will not: if harvesting in Class III wetland forests continues, large areas of from the river sediments, nutrients, and freshwater important coastal wetland forests will be lost. that are critical to the long-term survival of coastal wetland forests. Average water flows in coastal The GRN is working with our Louisiana members wetland forests have been altered by oil and gas to stop this potential tragedy. We hope that you will development, flood control, navigation, road work with us to ensure that we do not lose these construction and agricultural conversion. important natural resources. You can start by not using cypress mulch in your yard and asking your The SWG has found that large areas are now neighbors to do the same. Stay tuned for action constantly flooded as a result of these changes. alerts and updates on this critical issue. Coastal forests are tolerant of flooding, but cypress
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Our nation’s rivers and streams are at risk. Sprawl is increasing non-point source pollution of our waterways, increasing flooding, and depleting groundwater supplies. Even worse, ill-conceived government policies are undercutting the laws that have protected our waterways for decades. As citizens who value these resources, we need to speak with a unified voice to ensure their protection—nationally and locally! Weakened protections in Washington, D.C. are making the work of watershed activists everywhere more difficult. American Rivers has organized 12 river and watershed groups into a Steering Committee with the goal of developing a concise and focused program to protect the health of our waterways. The resulting Citizens’ Agenda for Rivers highlights three major threats to our rivers: eroding water quality, insufficient water for river health, and urban sprawl. To address these threats, the committee outlined the goals and strategies in the box at right. The Gulf Restoration Network has endorsed the Citizens’ Agenda for Rivers and we encourage all our member groups, friends and supporters to do the same. By working together we can achieve healthy rivers and healthy communities across the Gulf!

The Citizens’ Agenda Goals and Strategies:
1. Protect Water Quality • Preserve riparian areas near streams and wetlands. • Reduce the discharge of untreated sewage, and continue to implement loading evaluations. • Increase enforcement efforts and penalties. 2. Ensure Sufficient Water Supplies • Encourage water conservation for farmers, businesses and residents via education, new technologies and incentives. • Encourage better long-term planning for water supplies using monitoring, modeling, and build-out analyses to ensure sufficient capacity. • Restore natural flows using ecologically-based flow standards in water criteria, permits, and reservoir releases. 3. Protect Watersheds from Sprawl • Strengthen the requirements for environmental review of proposed development to minimize impacts. • Prioritize funding for transportation and infrastructure projects that minimize damage to water resources and do not promote sprawl. • Provide funding to protect public source water including headwaters, stream corridors, wetlands, critical habitat, recharge areas, and recreational areas. • Prioritize funding and incentives for low-impact development and stormwater management that incorporate water-smart principles.

Learn more about the Citizens’ Agenda online at healthyrivers.org or call 1-877-4RIVERS.

December 4, 2004 St. Petersburg, Florida At left, Executive Director Cynthia Sarthou cuts the anniversary cake. At right, Director for Water Resources Vicki Murillo leads a “Clean Water Toolbox” workshop. Thank you to all who attended!
Volume 9, Issue 1 Page 3

LNG: What is it?
When natural gas is cooled to a temperature of approximately -260 degrees Fahrenheit, it condenses to a liquid called liquefied natural gas (LNG). This makes it easier to ship large volumes of natural gas to the U.S. and other countries with large energy needs. Recent advances in technology have reduced the costs of LNG production and distribution. As a result, increasing natural gas supplies in the U.S. has become a central focus of the Bush administration’s energy policy. Natural gas can be used for heating homes, generating electricity, or creating raw materials for chemical manufacturing plants. Energy companies planning to construct new facilities in the Gulf must receive permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) or the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

LNG: Why should we care?
Twenty-two LNG facilities are proposed for the western Gulf. These terminals could have a huge impact on Gulf fisheries, pose a safety threat to residents of the Gulf region, and require the loss of coastal wetlands. Once LNG has been shipped to the U.S., it must be warmed to be “re-gasified” before it is delivered to our gas pipeline infrastructure. LNG facilities use one of two systems for this process: 1. An open rack vaporizer, or open-loop system, which runs a constant flow of Gulf seawater through radiator-like racks; or 2. A submerged combustion vaporizer, or closed-loop system, which uses the same water over and over.

GRN Fisheries Campaign Director Aaron Viles (3rd from left) and reporters Mike Hasten and Amy Wold listen to NOAA Fisheries SE Regional Director Roy Crabtree discuss the fisheries impacts of open-loop LNG terminals.

Seven of the 22 facilities plan to use open-loop systems, even though each terminal could use up to 200 million gallons of Gulf water per day to “re-gasify” the natural gas. The drastic temperature change and physical damage caused by the process will destroy fish eggs and larva by the billions. Currently, each site is analyzed separately and there have been no studies of the cumulative impacts of all the LNG facilities in the Gulf. Closed-loop systems, though more expensive to the gas companies, would be significantly less destructive to our fisheries. Open-loop LNG terminals are currently proposed in essential habitat for shrimp, redfish (red drum), Spanish and king mackerel, red snapper, cobia, dolphin, blue fin tuna, and others. The energy industry is important to the Gulf, but our commercial and recreational fishing industries are vital as well, generating $800 million in commercial landings and $5.6 billion in recreational expenditures annually.


Our goal is to bring together those who are campaigning against or concerned about the impacts of LNG facilities. The LNG symposium will start with the opening plenary “Fish, Fires and FERC – is LNG meant to be?” We will spend the rest of the day planning a coordinated strategy. To apply for the symposium, contact Briana Kerstein at 504-525-1528 x208 or [email protected].
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(Continued from page 4)

LNG terminals and transportation pose a significant safety risk to residents in the Gulf states. If a LNG vessel was breached, it could result in a fire up to a mile across, producing severe burns up to two miles away. LNG facilities are proposed near Corpus Christi, Galveston, Port Arthur, Pascagoula and Mobile, so residents across the Gulf have reason to be concerned. LNG facilities and pipelines could also have significant negative impacts to wetlands along the Gulf. Many proposed onshore LNG facilities will require filling in wetlands to construct the terminals and pipelines and dredging of waterways to accommodate the large LNG vessels. We cannot continue to allow new development in fragile and important wetland habitats without fully considering cumulative impacts.

LNG: What can be done?
We must not jeopardize our fisheries or our citizens in a rush to develop LNG terminals. Terminals can be constructed offshore to minimize safety risks and can use a closed-loop system to minimize the impacts to our fisheries. While 22 facilities are proposed or approved for the Gulf, economists believe that only 4 or 5 facilities can be supported by current projections for natural gas demands. FERC and the USCG must require these facilities to be constructed offshore and to use the closed-loop system. Some progress on this issue is already being seen. As reported in the Galveston County Daily News, BP has decided against the use of an open-loop system at its proposed Pelican Island terminal outside Galveston. “A vital factor was the conclusion that use of open rack and seawater are not a good fit for the particular environmental conditions of Galveston Bay,” said Bob Boyce, director of BP Bay Crossing. While Exxon-Mobil is still proposing to use an open-loop system for its Pearl Crossing facility off the coast of Louisiana, it has agreed to use the closed-loop system for its Vista del Sol and Golden Pass facilities. Two facilities that will use the open-loop system have already been approved in the Gulf of Mexico. We must act now to ensure additional facilities are built offshore using the closed-loop system. A first step is to require the USCG and FERC to complete a cumulative environmental impact analysis of all proposed LNG facilities using the open loop system. To get involved in your area, contact Briana Kerstein, the GRN Outreach Coordinator, at 504-525-1528, ext. 208, or [email protected].
Existing: D. Approved: 1. 2. 5. 6. 8. 9. 50. Proposed: 12. 13. 14. 17. 19. 22. 24. 26. 27. 28. 29. 36. 37. 39. 40. 42. Lake Charles, LA: Southern Union – Trunkline Lake Charles, LA: Southern Union – Trunkline Hackberry, LA: Sempra Energy Freeport, TX: Cheniere/Freeport LNG Sabine, LA: Cheniere LNG Port Pelican, offshore: Chevron Texaco Energy Bridge, offshore: El Paso Altamira, Mexico: Shell/Total/Mitsui Corpus Christi, TX: Cheniere Corpus Christi, TX: ExxonMobil Sabine, TX: Exxonmobil Corpus Christi, TX: Ingleside Port Arthur, TX: Sempra Pascagoula, MS: Gulf LNG Gulf Landing, offshore: Shell Main Pass, offshore: McMoRan Compass Port, offshore: ConocoPhillips Pearl Crossing, offshore: ExxonMobil Beacon Port, offshore: ConocoPhillips Galveston, TX: BP switched to non-open loop Port Lavaca, TX: Calhoun LNG Pascagoula, MS: Chevron Texaco Cameron, LA: Creole Trail Freeport, TX: Cheniere/Freeport – Expansion Open loop systems in bold

Proposed, Approved, and Existing LNG Terminals in the Gulf

Volume 9, Issue 1

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Louisiana Wildlife Federation
The Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) is a leading organization of sportsmen and conservationists with over 30 state and local affiliated clubs and 13,000 members. The goals of the LWF are to conserve the natural resources of Louisiana, with particular emphasis on fish and wildlife and their habitats, to protect the rights of Louisiana citizens to enjoy these resources in accordance with sound, scientifically established resource management principles, and to accomplish this primarily through education and advocacy. The LWF was incorporated in 1940 and had a pioneering role in the establishment of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in 1952. Another major LWF achievement was the initiation and successful adoption of a 1987 constitutional amendment to dedicate the Conservation Fund for fish and wildlife management purposes. More recently, it has aggressively pursued the dedication of offshore mineral revenues for the restoration of Louisiana's rapidly eroding coastline and for wildlife conservation funding. Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Inc. P.O. Box 65239, Audubon Station Baton Rouge, LA 70896-5239 Phone/Fax: 225-344-6707 E-mail: [email protected]; Web: http://www.lawildlifefed.org

Founded in 1994, the Gulf Restoration Network is a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the resources of the Gulf Region for future generations. Board of Directors
Casi Callaway Mobile Bay Watch/Mobile Baykeeper Mobile, AL Mark Davis—Chair Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Baton Rouge, LA Robert Hastings Alabama Natural Heritage Program Montgomery, AL Rose Johnson—Vice-Chair Concerned Citizens Coalition Gulfport, MS Joe Murphy Sierra Club Tampa, FL Juan Parras TSU Law Clinic Houston, TX Bob Schaeffer Public Policy Communications Sanibel, FL Page Williams Sierra Club—Lone Star Chapter Houston, TX Robert Wiygul—Acting Secretary/ Treasurer Waltzer and Associates Biloxi, MS

We’ve changed our website URL! The new address, www.healthygulf.org, contains all the resources of the old website in addition to some new features. Our Hot Issues section will update you on critical Gulf issues more frequently. Our Action Alert section will enable you to read archived alerts as well as past issues of “GulfWaves,” the bi-weekly digest of announcements and alerts sent in by member groups and friends. You can also sign up to receive our action alerts and GulfWaves in your e-mail inbox. Check back often—more changes will be coming soon!
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Cynthia Sarthou: Executive Director Amy Gill: Director of Operations Vicki Murillo: Director for Water Resources Briana Kerstein: Outreach Coordinator Aaron Viles: Fisheries Campaign Director Marianne Cufone: Fisheries Consultant

MARCH 2005

Network Notebook: New literature and reports that GRN members might find useful The following are new documents available from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications, P.O. Box 42419, Cincinnati, OH 45242, 1-800-490-9198, or online at http://www.epa.gov/ncepihom/index.htm: • Fact Sheet: Protecting Drinking Water Sources (EPA#816F04032) • Understanding the Safe Drinking Water Act (EPA#816F04030) • Water Facts (EPA#816F04036) National Coastal Condition Report II. EPA issued this report in January 2005. It is the second in a series of environmental assessments of U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes and includes assessments of 100 percent of the nation’s estuaries in the contiguous 48 states and Puerto Rico. Access the report online at http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/nccr/2005/downloads.html or call 1-800-490-9198 and request EPA publication #620/R-03/002. Citizens’ Agenda for Rivers. The Citizens' Agenda for Rivers is a plan for healthy rivers and healthy communities created by and for the river movement. It includes information on policy solutions to priority threats to our rivers. Access the report online at http://www.amrivers.org/doc_repository/CAR/CitizensAgendaEasternVersion.pdf.

Calendar of Events
MARCH 2005 7-10 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Meeting. Birmingham, AL. For a complete agenda, visit www.gulfcouncil.org. 2 LNG Symposium. Hosted by the GRN and the Sierra Club. New Orleans, LA. For more information, visit www.healthygulf.org. To apply for the symposium, contact Briana Kerstein at 504-525-1528, ext. 208.

18-20 Alabama Rivers Alliance Watershed Leadership Conference. Camp McDowell, MAY 2005 Nauvoo, AL. For more information, contact 9-11 14th International Conference on Aquatic ARA at 205-322-6395 or visit Invasive Species. Wyndham Casa Marine www.alabamarivers.org. Resort, Key West, FL. For more information, visit www.fleppc.org. 20-23 Ninth International Symposium on Biogeochemistry of Wetlands. Baton 20-24 River Network’s National River Rally Rouge, LA. For more information, contact 2005. Keystone, CO. For more information, Robert R. Twilley, 225-578-8806 or 225call 208-853-1920 or visit 578-6431. http://www.rivernetwork.org/rally/. 24-26 Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries II. Omni-Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.managingfisheries.org 27-30 15th Annual Heartwood Forest Council. Camp Yocona Boy Scout Camp, between Tupelo and Oxford, MS. For details call 662236-1456 or email [email protected] or [email protected].

APRIL 2005 1-2 Environment 2005: Law, Science, and the JUNE 2005 Public Interest. 10th Annual Tulane Envi4-5 Seaspace 2005. SCUBA diving and ronmental Conference. New Orleans, LA. adventure travel expo. Houston, TX. Register at www.law.tulane.edu/enlaw or call Visit www.seaspace.org or call 713-467504-862-8827 for more information. 6675.
Volume 9, Issue 1

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United for a Healthy Gulf

P.O. Box 2245 New Orleans, LA 70176 Phone: (504) 525-1528 Fax: (504) 525-0833 Website: www.healthygulf.org

The GRN would like to thank the following foundations for making this newsletter, as well as the work of the GRN, possible: The Belvedere Fund, The Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, The Booth-Bricker Foundation, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation, The Holloman Price Foundation, The Joe W & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, the Regional Marine Conservation Project, and The RosaMary Foundation.

If Shell’s Gulf Landing LNG facility uses an openloop system, it could have a serious negative impact on red drum in the Gulf (as much as the equivalent of 3.8% of Louisiana’s annual landings). The red drum fishery has been closed to all fishing in federal waters and to commercial fishing in state waters for many years due to concerns about overfishing—we cannot allow Gulf Landing to be given a free pass when our fishermen are denied the same access! Shell has claimed that using a closed-loop system is cost-prohibitive. However, BP recently agreed to use a closed-loop system for its proposed Pelican Island facility. Clearly, companies can build
Photo courtesy of: www.ferc.gov

economically viable facilities without using the open loop system. For more information on this issue, turn to page 4 of this newsletter. Take Action Now! The only environmentally sustainable option for LNG facilities is a closed loop system. Write a letter to A.Y. Noojin III, President and CEO of Shell U.S. Gas and Power, at: 1301 McKinney, Suite 700 Houston, TX 77010 E-mail: [email protected] Fax: (713) 230-1750 Tell Shell to protect our fisheries – NO OPEN LOOP IN THE GULF! A sample letter is available at healthygulf.org.

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