SPC employees have been working to slow Louisiana's coastal land loss since 2001. They also have been involved with the National Estuary Program since 1998. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers and National Estuary Program, SPC was the first oil and gas company that became actively involved in the issue. They also presented a business model for the entire hydrocarbon industry to follow.
Early realization of the importance of the problem, along with the effect on the oil and gas industry and the nation's economic security, led to employee-initiated education on Coast 2050, the $14 billion plan to restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands, and participation in the Americas Wetland initiative. Employees also saw the value in joining with the public, business, federal, state, and local agencies, to fight this common problem.
Shell Pipeline Company is proactively involved in efforts to conserve and restore the South Louisiana region Wetlands for a number of reasons. The South Louisiana region continues to be devastated by coastal erosion, the highest amount of continual land loss in the United States. Every year, up to 35 square miles of land disappears from the region at a rate of approximately one football field-sized section every 30 minutes.
The problem is devastating to the environment, estuaries, wildlife, fisheries, residents, lifestyles, business, and economy. It also compromises the integrity of pipeline infrastructures that transport crude oil through Louisiana's sensitive coastal estuary by uncovering and exposing the lines.
"I am proud to say Shell Pipeline employees have made professional and personal commitments to get involved to save South Louisiana. These actions not only protect our communities and the environment, they help protect our industry infrastructure," remarked Ed Landgraf, SPC Public Awareness Coordinator.
International and National Education on the Coastal Issue
Shell has brought the Louisiana coastal crisis message to national and international audiences through keynote engagements at the Clean Gulf Conference in Galveston, Texas and the International Oil Spill Conference in Vancouver, B.C. along with distributing "Americas Wetland" and coastal erosion educational materials. Shell also funded the "Americas Wetland" coastal erosion initiative with a $3 million donation to the state of Louisiana.
Shell Pipeline Company has a Community Council that was developed to design and implement new processes and techniques to educate the community about pipelines and pipeline safety, which incorporate Coastal Erosion Education and the Save our Coast messages. Many of these functions took extra dedication to fulfill the education action plan objectives.
"Gulf Guardians are shining examples of the type of collaboration and dedication needed for protecting and conserving coastal communities and ecosystems," said Benjamin Grumbles, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water in Washington, D.C.
Guardians of the Gulf
The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Program is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States; and seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.
The Gulf Guardian awards were developed in 2000 by The Gulf of Mexico Program partnership as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive.
"Government alone can't solve the environmental challenges we face today," said Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program. "Gulf Guardian recipients repeatedly demonstrate that the answer to our environmental problems is through partnerships and working together as one Gulf community."
Shell Pipeline Company will accept its award at the Gulf Guardian Award Ceremony on September 22, 2004 during the Southern States Environmental Conference and Exhibition at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, MS.
Shell Pipeline, part of Shell Oil Products US, operates nearly 3,000 miles of pipelines in Louisiana and offshore Gulf of Mexico.
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