These shrimp without eyes were caught off the Gulf Coast in late 2011.

BP Hauls in $7.7 Billion in Profits, Gulf Fishermen Haul in Shrimp with No Eyes

Oil giant BP, the company behind the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reported profits of $7.7 billion for the last quarter of 2011. Company executives and industry analysts sounded bullish about the company’s future in a recent New York Times article, saying they had set aside enough money to compensate victims of the Gulf spill and had plans to expand drilling operations in the Gulf.

BP seems to be recovering nicely after the disaster, which killed 11 people and pumped 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But stories from the Gulf suggest that the region is anything but healed.

The Gulf has been plagued with a suite of unexplained afflictions. Gulf fishermen say this is the worst season they can remember, with catches down 80 percent or more. Shrimp boats come home nearly empty, hauling in deformed, discolored shrimp, even shrimp without eyes. Tar balls and dead dolphins still wash up on beaches. Scientists report huge tar mats below the sand, "like vanilla swirl ice cream." Read more in NRDC’s Switchboard blog.


Breaking: Pebble Mine project shut down. Mining lobbyists lose millions. Local efforts prevailed. Huge environmental win in Alaska today!

NRDC: “(I)n a historic result against enormous odds, the Save Our Salmon initiative has prevailed.

In the Lake and Peninsula Borough of southwest Alaska, where the massive Pebble Mine is proposed to be sited by a consortium of foreign mining companies, the residents have approved a prohibition against large-scale resource extraction – like the Pebble Mine — that would destroy or degrade salmon habitat in their region. 

And, most remarkably, they did so despite an intense campaign of fear funded by the Pebble Partnership falsely charging that the initiative “will drive Lake and Pen families away to find work, force schools to close and drive up the cost of food and fuel as the local economy shrinks even more.”

Source: NRDC

For background, read/listen to NPR’s report yesterday: Pebble Mine Development Polarizes Alaska.”

See also the Pebble Mine wiki and read about the legal battles, lobby efforts, and salmon habitat issues.

We’re seeing all kinds of problems, shrimp with no eyes and no baby fish. Boats are reporting five and six dead dolphins a day. Our beach is producing less than 1 percent of the shrimp (of normal catches). Grand Isle used to be the best fishing grounds in the country. Our bay is full of oil and our beach is dead they’ve used so many dispersants….I don’t think we’ll have a fishing industry here in two or three years. Everyone is running out of money…I’d rather have 100 Katrinas than one BP spill.
—  Dean Blanchard, Grand Isle, LA. Once one of the largest shrimp buyers on the Gulf coast, his business has been decimated by crude contamination that continues to roll in on his beach community that is closest to the BP Horizon well.

Read more: A Gulf Chorus Fights BP’s PR War

OnEarth Magazine sent Reportage photographer Marco Di Lauro to Liberia earlier this year to document the environmental and social effects of oil palm production, which consumes an increasing amount of forest and farmland. In the accompanying article, reporter Jocelyn Zuckerman writes:

The oil palm companies in Liberia enjoyed a brief honeymoon. (In addition to GVL, the Malaysian corporation Sime Darby runs a 769,000-acre operation in the north of the country.) But it wasn’t long before local communities began to cry foul. Villagers I met during a visit to the Sime Darby concession accused the company of destroying their crops and grave sites, polluting streams, displacing residents by force, and failing to get “free, prior, and informed consent” before clearing their land. The work of planting and watering the oil palm was too hard, they said, the wages too low, and safety equipment inadequate or nonexistent.

Read the online version of the story here.

Marco Di Lauro, an award-winning photojournalist, joined Getty Images in 2002, covering international news stories in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Italy. Marco’s main topics are war and religion: he has covered the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and the second intifada between Israel and Palestine. He is based in Rome and available for assignment.

Watch on climateadaptation.tumblr.com

Environmental Wins of 2011, via NRDC.

Some FTWs include protections for: Beluga, Buffalo, boreal forests, polar bears, Alaskan rain forest, treaty on bottom trawling in the North Pacific, Grizzly Bears, Tar Sands…

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The Obama administration decided on Friday to back a proposal to allow nearly 1,300 new oil and gas drilling wells in Utah’s Desolation Canyon region, impacting over 200,000 acres of wildlands. The sheer scope of the project, if approved, will have untold negative and permanent impacts on this wild region’s incredible beauty.

Got a minute to help stop this? Send a message to the administration and the Department of Interior that they must stand strong in protecting wilderness lands like Desolation Canyon.

photos: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

BAD DAY FOR A SWIM   Rockhopper Penguins and thousands of other birds, recently affected by a shipwrecked cargo ship that spilled 300,000 gallons of marine oil off their South Atlantic habitat, are collected in a drained pool on the island of Tristan de Cunha.  On this tiny British territory, halfway between Argentina and South Africa, scientists and residents are undertaking a massive effort to save —and feed — the endangered birds.  Click here to find out how to help.  (Photo: Katrine Herrion / Natural Resources Defense Council)

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Billie Joe and Adrienne for the NRDC for people outside of the US.

or the 0.2% of people who haven’t seen this little gem yet :)

The oil is still here and things are still dying. BP likes to make all their pretty commercials about how everything’s fine. Well I’m still here too and it’s not. But I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing to show people what’s really going on here.
—  Laurel Lockamy, photographer, and resident of Gulfport, Mississippi.  Click here to see some of her photos from the Gulf shores.

Nobody passes through Cape May, New Jersey. “The Nation’s Oldest Seashore Resort” is located at the southern terminus of both the Garden State and the Garden State Parkway. Trace a horizontal line on a map and you will note that it is farther south latitudinally than Baltimore and nearly equal to our nation’s capital.

Cape May, with its 24 beaches in a 2.4-mile span and more than 600 Victorian era homes, is more than a beach town. It is the end of a quest.

Other suitors—from Point Pleasant, Spring Lake and Bay Head to Avalon, Sea Isle City and Stone Harbor—have all given a suggestive wink and a smile to sand-starved pilgrims from New York City (158 miles north of Cape May) as they proceed southbound (an equally sizeable number come from Philadelphia).

All of these communities are more conveniently located, promising savings in two of summer’s most prized commodities: time and gas.

Cape May, N.J., Earned Its Clean Beach the Hard Way

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