Paradise Found: 3 Reasons to Restore the Gulf
The Gulf Coast is a real-life paradise. Its denizens enjoy mild weather, great seafood, sea-view sunsets and award-winning beaches.As the saying goes, though, “Every rose has its thorns.” For Gulf Coast-ers who call it home, the region isn’t without danger. Residents live on the front lines of catastrophe: some human induced, some natural, and most a blend of the two.
- In less than a century, land the size of Delaware has eroded and sunk off the coast of Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico.
- Eight years ago, Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore, devastating entire communities.
- Three years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded spewing crude oil for 87 days.
- For over three years, Gulf bottlenose dolphins have been dying in record numbers.
- And this year, experts say the Gulf will experience it’s largest hypoxic dead zone in history. Predictions suggest an area the size of New Jersey will be entirely devoid of oxygen and sea-life.
To say the Gulf is in trouble is an understatement. Decades of misuse have left the Gulf’s natural bounty vulnerable. But we can act. We must. And fast. Here’s why:
- Every year, like clockwork, hurricane season comes to the Gulf Coast. For residents, this means more than stocking up a storm kit with new batteries and fresh water. It means wondering, “Will this be a big one?” In an era of changing ocean temperatures, rising seas, and increasingly severe storms, all-too-often, the answer is “Yes.”
- Every day, Americans fill their cars with oil—much of which is produced offshore underneath Gulf waters. There the rigs sit precariously perched tapping into a resource that is flammable, explosive and toxic.
- Every spring, rainfall washes nitrogen from agricultural fields along the Mississippi River surging into the Gulf. The mega-fertilizer leads to algae blooms that die and send oxygen levels plummeting. The result? A vast lifeless area, thousands of square miles wide.
Wise investment in restoring the Gulf environment can lessen the damage caused by hurricanes, oil extraction, and hypoxia on the Gulf Coast. The RESTORE Act provides a unique opportunity to do just that. This summer, as Gulf residents brace for the largest dead zone yet and another active hurricane season, let’s add a bright spot to the forecast: use BP oil disaster dollars to strengthen the Gulf environment, protect its people, and benefit its wildlife.