Archive for the 'Water/Maritime' Category

Mar 17 2013

2013 W&M Environmental Law Symposium: Day 2

543px-Chesapeakewatershedmap

Day two of the Environmental Law Symposium focused on the non-profit’s role in environmental progress, the TMDL program’s affect on localities, and sea level rise. Below are summaries of the day two speakers.

Peggy Sanner

Ms. Sanner’s presentation laid out the history of menhaden regulation through the current legislation implementing the ASMFC‘s new cap. She talked about how regulation for menhaden going through the legislature has caused problems in advancing protections for the fish outside of when it is required by the ASMFC, backed by the federal government. However, in this legislative session the new cap sailed through the general assembly with no votes against it. Ms. Sanner praised the general assembly for stepping up in this way.

Shana Jones

Ms. Jones gave an overview of the regional impacts of the TMDL, saying that a collaborative approach between nonprofits, government, and the people will be needed to make them effective. This is because the new pollution reductions need to be accomplished by a large variety of people in the community changing their behavior. She used the example of Lynnhaven River Now, which was formed to encourage citizens to take action to reduce pollution to the Lynnhaven River. They were so successful that the river went from 1% compliance with pollution standards to 40% compliance in only a few years. This demonstrates the power of government collaboration with non-profit groups.

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Mar 17 2013

2013 W&M Environmental Law Symposium: Day 1

800px-Chesapeakelandsat

The 2013 W&M Environmental Law Symposium, organized by the Environmental Law and Policy Review, Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic, and the Environmental Law and Policy Review, was held on March 15th and 16th. We had an excellent discussion about legal and policy issues facing the Chesapeake Bay, including the TMDL and sea level rise. Below are summaries of the speakers’ presentations.

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Joe Maroon

Mr. Maroon opened the Symposium with an overview of the history of the Chesapeake Bay starting with the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement in 1983 until today and the start of the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load). He praised the CB Partnership for making a lot of progress since its inception but indicated we still have a long way to go. He also said that over the years some have questioned if the annual governors’ meeting on the Chesapeake Bay was merely a photo op, but that he believed they are  incredibly important in bringing leaders together to talk about the Bay. Now, the TMDL is a big step forward for restoration because of the accountability measures, transparency, two-year milestones and possible federal backstops to require action.

Robert Nelson

Professor Nelson presented his paper called “Saving the Chesapeake Bay TMDL,” which criticized the TMDL for failing to implement an adaptive management strategy and stated that long-term blueprints with specific numbers don’t work well for issues that have uncertainties. He also argued that the cost of the TMDL hadn’t been considered but should have been. Finally, Professor Nelson proposed that the TMDL should be reworked to focus mostly on reducing pollution in agriculture and requiring a 150% offset for new development.

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Aug 24 2011

BP Oil Spill Part Two?: New Oil Slick Found in Gulf

Published by under Energy,Water/Maritime

Oil Spill, via wikimedia

The appearance of an oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico near the source of last year’s major BP spill sparked new fears in a community still suffering from oil spill jitters.   BP has denied that the oil is coming from any of its wells, including the capped Macondo well that was the source of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.  They nevertheless sent boats and booms to the capped well and investigated the site with submersibles to ensure that there are no leaks.  The source of the oil sheen is not currently known, but there are several other abandoned oil wells that may be the culprits.  So far, this incident is another reminder of the ever-present danger of oil spills, which increases in offshore rigs, and the reality that minor spills and leaks from such rigs happens on a regular basis.  This summer also saw more two major oil leaks: the Shell leak in the North Sea and the ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline that spilled into the Yellowstone River. Continue Reading »

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Apr 20 2011

One Year Later: The BP Oil Spill

Published by under Energy,Water/Maritime

Anchor-handling tugboats battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, via wikimedia

Today is the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  On that fateful day, eleven people lost their lives in the explosion on the rig and seventeen more were injured.  This then touched off a disastrous oil leak from the blown wellhead that brought words like “blowout preventer” and “dispersant” into our collective understanding.  Speeches were made and hearings held in Congress as lawmakers attempted to get to the cause.  Meanwhile, attempts to stop the relentless flow of oil continued for months and workers in the Gulf of Mexico were frantically trying to keep the oil offshore and out of the wetlands, with limited success.  When the well was finally capped, the future of the Gulf of Mexico was uncertain.

One year later, the Minerals Management Services is no more, replaced by the unfortunately named Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE).  BOEMRE is setting a breakneck pace trying to balance pressure from the industry to get permits approved and environmentalists worried about another spill.  The oil in the Gulf is still around and recently there has been a rash of mysterious dolphin deaths, with dead baby dolphins washing up on the beaches.  Residents and scientists still worry that large oil plumes may exist underwater, sink to the seafloor, create “dead zones” for fish, and affect crab and shrimp harvests.  If anything, this anniversary is a reminder that the full effects of this disaster have not been fully felt or understood yet and we should not forget that. Continue Reading »

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Mar 23 2011

World Water Day 2011

Published by under Water/Maritime

Water droplet rebounding, via wikimedia

March 22 was World Water Day and in honor of that event, below are some great stories about the importance of water all over the world and some tips on how to conserve it in your everyday life.   The Nature Conservancy also has 30 days worth of water conservation tips on their site. A sample of the tips are here:

Enjoy a vegetarian meal.  The water footprint of beef is 1500 gallons
– Cut your shower time by 5 minutes and save 20 gallons of water per shower.
– Carry a reusable bottle.  It takes 1.5 gallons to make the average plastic bottle
-Use a dishwasher.  An efficient dishwasher can save 16 gallons versus hand washing

Read on beyond the jump for more water-related news from this week. Continue Reading »

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Mar 09 2011

Back in the Saddle: First New Deepwater Drilling Permit Issued for Gulf since BP Spill

Published by under Energy,Water/Maritime

Map of the northern Gulf of Mexico showing the nearly 4,000 active oil and gas platforms in 2006, via wikimedia

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement announced last week that they had approved the first permit for a deepwater drilling operation since the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.  The permit is for Noble Energy, who plan to drill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. The permit allows drilling to resume on a well in 6500 feet of water that was suspended as part of the drilling moratorium and subsequent remaking of the regulations. BOEMRE said in a statement that Noble has complied with the new, more rigorous safety standards and therefore are ready to begin drilling safely in the Gulf of Mexico.  This announcement comes after a Feburary decision by Judge Martin Feldman, who enjoined enforcement of the drilling moratorium and held the Interior in contempt of court in prior cases, ruled that the Interior Department had to take action on five pending permits. Continue Reading »

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