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Texas Hosts Gulf Coast Restoration Council Meeting

Panel will take public comment on Deepwater Horizon spill recovery plans

WHEN:        Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 6:00-

Introductions: 6:00-6:30 p.m.

Public Comment: 6:30-8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Pasadena Convention Center, 7902 Fairmont Pkwy, Pasadena, TX 77507

WHAT: The RESTORE Act, passed by Congress in July of 2012, created the Restoration Council and charged it with the oversight and eventual distribution of a significant portion of the federal civil penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation.

WHO: The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council is comprised of governors, or their designees, from five affected Gulf Coast states, the Secretaries from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, as well as the Secretary of the Army, and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The council is chaired by the Secretary of Commerce. 

TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker is Texas Governor Rick Perry’s designee on the Restoration Council.

For information on the Gulf Coast Restoration Council, and its mission, visit http://www.restorethegulf.gov

For more information on this meeting, visit http://www.tceq.texas.gov/agency/gulf-council.html


Galveston Baykeeper Attend Progressive Forum's Robert F. Kennedy Event 

Galveston Baykeeper Board, former Baykeeper, Charlotte Wells and husband, Don Belgau, along with former Board member Debra Goode joined board members Charlotte Cherry, Natalie O'Neill and Vaness Hamilton for the second appearance of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for The Progressive Forum.  What seemed like an extemporaneous speech delivered as if speaking to friends in his living room covered current environmental threats to the health of our country and our planet, available green technologies and renewable energy sources, to how his childhood family life laid the foundation for his becoming, truly, a "Hero for the Planet".  The President at Large of Waterkeeper Alliance inspired us to examine our individual choices and dig deeper into our personal commitment to befriend Mother Earth.  His full speech will be available on The Progressive Forum website in January.  We'll keep you posted!

Galveston Baykeeper and Linde Gas Reach Agreement on Clean Water Act Issues


Galveston Baykeeper and Linde Gas have reached a settlement agreement regarding water discharges from Linde's gas manufacturing facility on the San Jacinto Bay in La Porte, Texas.  Under the agreement, Linde will continue to make investments in pollution control systems and operations that will benefit both local fish and wildlife and members of the public.  Linde will also contribute $60,000 in funding to Armand Bayou Nature Center to support bayou restoration.  Baykeeper, in exchange, has agreed to settle its concerns about water discharges from the facility under the Clean Water Act.


"This is a really good resolution and it was encouraging to see Linde step up and do the right thing for the San Jacinto River," says Kathryn Aguilar, a representative of Galveston Baykeeper.  "There is not question that we have a lot of work to clean up the waters that are flowing into Galveston Bay, and we need others who discharge into the San Jacinto River to follow suit."


"We were please to be able to work with Galveston Baykeeper to resolve their issues and help support restoration in Armand Bayou," add Linde representative Jake Leavins.  "We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, and we are proud of our environmental stewardship.  This agreement will help us do even better."



POHA Marsh Island Project Update 


Another victory for our Galveston Bay!  The Port Commissioners of the Port of Houston Authority (POHA) voted unanimously to remove the option of dumping dredge spoil in Upper Galveston Bay as part of their current permit application.  You, elected officials holding local and state office, oystermen, Sierra Club, Galveston Bay Foundation, Galveston Perservation and Conservation Association, and boaters from area yacht clubs and associations raised a unified voice of opposition to the open water marsh plan.  Thank you for participating!  You are encouraged to send thank you notes to the POHA Commissioners and Executive Director Len Waterworth who listened to the public pushback on the plan and to the elected officials who stood firmly on our side to protect the open waters of the Bay!  For more details,www.galvestonbaykeeper.org or ourgalvestonbay.com 


Galveston Baykeeper Resigns


If there is one constant in our world, it is change.  Just when we find life rolling along smoothly, inevitably, some event rocks the boat.  GBK's family of members, volunteers, contributors, staff and board of directors, faces an organizational transition with the resignation of Charlotte Wells, our second and longest tenured Baykeeper.  


Charlotte Wells steered GBK as it evolved from a program under Galveston Bay Conservation and Preservation Association (GBCPA) to its current status as a 501 c 3 organization.  Donating her time and talents to helping the Bay, Charlotte served many years as GBK's only staff.  Through her dedication, funds were raised to support her efforts and expand staffing for the Wetland Watch program.  Charlotte's advocacy created many partnerships, both locally and through the WKA network, bringing a stronger voice for the Bay and the Gulf to issues like Clean Water Act violations, recovery following the BP oil spill disaster, POHA dredging operations, and environmental justice.  GBK Board and members are grateful for the strong foundation Charlotte created over the past six years and wish her well in her future endeavors.    


As we steady our course, Charlotte Cherry returns as our volunteer Baykeeper while GBK looks to hire permanent staff!  Our Board of Directors stepped up to manage many of the advocacy issues effecting our communities and waterways, as well as grant proposals and fundraising activities.  Volunteers willing to help in the field or in the office can sign up at info@galvestonbaykeeper.org or by calling 281-639-3503.


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