A new report released this week indicates that the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is responsible for accelerating the erosion of marshlands in Louisiana. Before the BP oil spill, wetland loss per year was equivalent to the size of Manhattan Island. Since oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is killing salt marsh plants, coastal Louisiana is susceptible to even more wetland loss at faster rates. This is especially unfortunate because these eroding salt marshes are the same marshes that protect communities and cities from taking the brunt of storm surge. Once these wetlands are eroded, Louisiana's resiliency will be at stake -- meaning little hope for our state's economy and residents.
For landowners, this has serious implications. Once their private wetlands are eroded, their property becomes the state's property. Until that happens, who will fund a restoration project so that these wetlands will return to a healthy state? We cannot wait around for the state or federal government to make a move. In this case, we strongly believe it is BP's responsibility to restore these wetlands. They played a risky game and they lost. Unfortunately, what is at stake is Louisiana's -- and America's -- future.
Global Green stands with other environmental groups, community organizations, and Senator Landrieu in supporting the RESTORE Act, which calls for BP lawsuit money to be appropriated for the restoration of the wetlands of coastal Louisiana. The RESTORE Act is currently being negotiated in Congress; you can call your local representative and Senator to urge them to support the RESTORE Act.
With little money being directed from the state or federal government towards wetland restoration, Global Green is working to present landowners with options -- using carbon offsets. We are currently working with an ambitious group of wetland owners who are interested in developing a carbon offset pilot project, which will ultimately allow big business to invest money in restoration projects as a way of balancing their carbon footprint. For wetland owners, this means money to restore their wetlands and the expertise of quality scientists to oversee these restoration projects.