Environmentalists: Open Gulf alliance process

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, March 12, 2009

Conservation groups say the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a partnership of regional governors seeking to clean up the Gulf’s beaches and marine environment, is shortchanging the public by not holding meetings on a draft plan.

On Monday, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance said it would take public comment on the draft plan through an online survey.

Now, conservation groups say that is not adequate because the online process limits discussion on issues like climate change.

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“They have severely limited the ability of the public to have their voices heard,” said Andy Wilson of Public Citizen Texas.

Chris Macaluso, a spokesman on coastal issues for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, said, “This was no effort on the part of the state of Louisiana to keep the public from commenting on this plan.” He added that there was never a “dictum” to have a public meeting.

Casey DeMoss Roberts of the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans said Florida held meetings on the plan and that other states should do the same.

The alliance was formed in 2004 by the governors of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.