On the Shore, On the Water, and Via Satellite: NWF Fights for Gulf Restoration

The National Wildlife Federation marked one year of the Gulf oil disaster on Wednesday by joining with groups like the Audobon Society, Ducks Unlimited, Environmental Defense Fund and Women of the Storm to call on members of Congress to act on legislation to dedicate BP’s oil disaster fines and penalties to restore Gulf Coast wetlands and ecosystems.

Dr. Doug Inkley, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior scientist, took the message on CNN’s American Morning:

Later in the morning, the coalition held a news conference with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) asking for Congressional action to restore the Gulf. After the event, Capt. Dave Marino led a trip out to Bay Jimmy to see oil that remains in coastal marshes and questionable efforts to remove it:

“Last month, they were scoopin’ it by hand. The month before that, they were vacuuming oil. There’s a lot of different things going on, but the oil is still here,” Marino said.

“I’m not sure we need to lose more wetlands. We need to restore wetlands,” said National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger.

In the evening, NWF’s Larry Schweiger and Land Tawney closed the day by joining with Ducks Unlimited to lead a tele-town hall conference to mark the one-year memorial of the Gulf oil disaster and discuss its effects on wildlife and habitats. More than 5,000 people dialed in to hear what they can do to help the Gulf’s people and wildlife recover.

Once the day’s work was done, the NWF team gathered for dinner at a New Orleans restaurant for some hard-earned gumbo. I’d been up at 3am to drive to Myrtle Grove Marina with Dr. Inkley for his television appearance, so I was wiped out. I was happy to sit back, enjoy an Abita beer, and listen to the conversation.

But even though we’d all been going full-speed all day, Larry Schweiger and David Muth, NWF’s coastal Louisiana state director, were still having a passionate debate about the best ways to spark action on restoring coastal wetlands. Even though Washington still hasn’t fulfilled its promises to make the Gulf whole, it gave me hope that the restoration movement has committed leaders who won’t rest until the job is done.

Speak Up for Gulf Restoration

Please take a moment right now to ask your members of Congress to pass oil disaster response legislation that devotes fines and penalties to coastal wetlands restoration.

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s response to the Gulf oil disaster at NWF.org/OilSpill.