In the midst of the 7th year Memorial of the BP Oil Drilling Disaster, the Bureau Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is hosting public hearings in the five Gulf state for 2018 GOM Draft Supplemental EIS. BOEM's 2017-2022 Oil and Gas Leasing Program proposes to lease over 70 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico so that oil and gas companies can drill up to 9.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent over the next 70 years. BOEM's proposal minimizes the environmental impact and costs associated with catastrophic spills and does not sufficiently justify the need for new leasing in the Gulf in light of emerging renewable energy markets and the seriousness of the climate change.
Last year, concerned citizens across the five Gulf states joined the national Keep It In the Ground and No New Leases campaigns to halt new oil and gas extraction on our land and water. As a result of national efforts, the Obama Administration removed the Atlantic and the Artic from the Oil and Gas Leasing Program leaving future oil and gas exploration to concentrate in the Gulf of Mexico. This year BOEM is moving forward with the program and is getting ready to sell off our Gulf to the highest bidder. But before they do, the public has one more chance to comment on the EIS.
The 2018 GOM Draft Supplemental EIS contains analyses of the potential environmental impacts that could result from a proposed region-wide lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, including preliminary results of new air quality modelling. The preliminary results have not yet been subject to review. BOEM is interested in comments regarding the modelling and analysis. The Supplemental EIS is expected to be used to inform decisions on proposed Lease Sales 250 and 251, as scheduled in the 2017‑2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing: Proposed Final Program (Five-Year Program). The analyses may also be applied and supplemented as necessary to inform decisions for each of the remaining proposed lease sales scheduled in the Five-Year Program.
To learn more, citizens should attend the public hearing on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Courtyard by Marriott, Gulfport Beachfront MS Hotel, 1600 East Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Mississippi 39501.
Join Steps Coalition and partners outside the Marriot at 4:00 pm for a press conference. For more details about the conference, contact Jennifer Crosslin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph taken by local resident
Last June, a gas processing plant in Moss Point located within three miles of several neighborhoods exploded. The gas processing plant is owned by BP Amoco and Enterprise Products, LLC. It is one of the largest gas processing facilities in the nation with the capacity to process up to 1 billion cubic feet per day. The Destin Pipeline (jointly owned by affiliates of Shell, Sonat, and BP Amoco) carries natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico directly to the plant, and then delivers the processed gas to five interstate pipelines.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured as a result of the explosion, but nearby residents were concerned about what they might be exposed to as a result of the explosion. Though Jackson County Emergency Management did not notify or evacuate the surrounding neighborhoods, many were awaken in the middle of the night by the sound and sight of the explosion and decided to evacuate.
Unlike oil and chemical plants, gas processing plants are not required to report the list and quantity of hazard pollutants they release to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Program.
The TRI Program was created as part of a response to several events that raised public concern about local preparedness for chemical emergencies and the availability of information on hazardous substances.
On December 4, 1984, a cloud of extremely toxic methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a Union Carbide Chemical plant in Bhopal, India. Thousands of people died that night and thousands more died later as a result of their exposure. Survivors continue to suffer with permanent disabilities. In 1985, a serious chemical release occurred at a similar plant in West Virginia.
In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to support and promote emergency planning and to provide the public with information about releases of toxic chemicals in their community. Section 313 of EPCRA established the Toxics Release Inventory.
The EPA is now considering a rule that adds natural gas processing plants to the TRI program. Communities have until May 7, 2017 to submit their comments about the proposed rule. The EPA provides the following recommendations for submitting a public comment:
A comment can express simple support or dissent for a regulatory action. However, a constructive, information-rich comment that clearly communicates and supports its claims is more likely to have an impact on regulatory decision making.
These tips are meant to help the public submit comments that have an impact and help agency policy makers improve federal regulations.
Read and understand the regulatory document you are commenting on
Feel free to reach out to the agency with questions
Be concise but support your claims
Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted
Address trade-offs and opposing views in your comment
There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment
The comment process is not a vote – one well supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters
Click here to submit your comments.
To learn more about the health impacts of gas production, check out these resources.
Our partners at the Kellogg Foundation shared this incredible video Lizz Wright created of the song she wrote and performed for the National Day of Racial Healing. Hope you enjoy it!
100% Renewable Energy Economy in Mississippi is Possible!
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I had the opportunity to go to Paris as one of 30 delegates from the Gulf South Rising Movement. We went to Paris with the goal of networking with other frontline communities across the globe, particularly the Global South, and exchanging stories of our respective struggles and triumphs in the fight for climate justice. It was truly a life changing experience for me. Not only did I have the pleasure of meeting climate justice activists from all over the world, but I also spent a week with some of the most passionate, talented, and conscientious climate activists in the Gulf region.Read more