Bring Back the Gulf

Bring Back the Gulf is a timely publication that analyzes the scientific, environmental, legal, social and political aspects of the U.S. Interior Department’s Rigs-to-Reefs program and is now available as a PDF file and as an E-book.

Authors DeeVon Quirolo and Richard Charter conclude that the best course is to support compliance and enforcement of the obligation contained in each offshore oil lease with the U.S. Interior Department that requires full decommissioning of spent oil and gas structures to restore the seabed to its previous natural state.

For more information, contact Richard Charter at

The underlying agreement between the oil companies and the public has, from the beginning, been based on clear assurances that spent offshore drilling rigs would be removed and the seafloor restored when oil and gas extraction reached its conclusion. Thousands of such rigs, designed as temporary installations, are coming up for decommissioning in the Gulf of Mexico over the next few years. The Rigs-to-Reefs waiver process instead allows these massive industrial structures to become permanent fixtures on the ocean floor. This waiver obviously saves the petroleum industry millions of dollars, but is not justifiable in terms of supporting larger Gulf of Mexico restoration or fisheries goals. These structures impose an unnecessary long term maintenance and liability burden on the public in states with Rigs-to-Reefs programs and create serious environmental and stakeholder issues. Bring Back the Gulf is the story of how Big Oil decided to fool the American taxpayer, and why their complicated scheme is not in the public interest.

Bring Back the Gulf

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Bring Back the Gulf

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Bring Back the Gulf

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Letter to Interior

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World Premier of The Silver Mirror

The historic Palace Theatre in downtown Canton, Ohio, was selected to debut The Silver Mirror, a feature-length global documentary film that investigates the topic of aging and extending healthier lifespans – and their effects on our society, healthcare and environment in the 21st century. The film is narrated and hosted by two-time Emmy Award®-winning and Golden Globe®-nominated actress Blythe Danner, with an original film score performed by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. The film’s writer-producer-director, Ali Habashi, presented the film at its premiere, Tuesday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation as part of a collaborative grant with Kent State University at Stark and the Edward H. Arnold Center for Confluent Media Studies at the University of Miami, The Silver Mirror takes the audience on an enlightening journey through 12 countries around the world, searching for a universal voice that fearlessly and intimately conveys humanity’s ancient, collective and fundamental struggle with the fragility of the human condition imposed by the inevitability of aging – while also pondering that for the first time in human history, impending scientific surges in our health-span will drastically change how we live our lives.

“Science is on the precipice of understanding and being able to manipulate the process of aging. In the very near future, the average lifespan is expected to be increased to well over 100 years,” remarked Herbert W. Hoover Foundation Chair, Elizabeth Lacey Hoover. “Now is the time to consider the consequences, not just relating to personal experience, but also to the impact on the planet, including the environment, food, water and social issues.”

Based on the cutting-edge work of many leading scientists worldwide, The Silver Mirror features interviews with several distinguished experts, including Dr. Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, on the challenges of providing care for Ohio’s elderly population, given that the number of Ohioans over the age of 60 is expected to increase by 25 percent by 2020.

Silver Mirror Premier in Palace Theather

For more information about the film, contact:

Christina Delphus, Associate Director
Edward H. Arnold Center for Confluent Media Studies
University of Miami

Ali Habashi, Director
Edward H. Arnold Center for Confluent Media Studies
University of Miami
Phone: (305)284-4121

See more information about “The Silver Mirror”

Giant squid scientist talks deep-ocean discovery – CBSNews

(CBS News) For the first time, scientists recently captured images of the mysterious giant squid in their natural habitat off the coast of Japan.

Edith Widder, oceanographer and marine biologist, who was involved in the expedition, said on “CBS This Morning” the breakthrough could be the beginning of many discoveries of the ocean’s depths.

She said, “It’s been said that we know more about the moon’s behind than the ocean’s bottom, and we’ve explored only 5 percent of our ocean’s bottom. Look what’s down there. … We know so little. … There could be cures for cancer. The Nobel Prize in 2008 was awarded for a chemical extracted from a bio-luminescent jellyfish and that’s discovery has been equated to the invention of the microscope in terms of the impact it’s had on science. So how do we even know? And we’ve spent billions on exploring outer space and only millions on exploring the deep ocean. … I think that there will be new discoveries so long as we have the opportunity to go out with ships and submersibles.”

Widder said people have been trying to catch a glimpse of the giant squid alive in their natural habitat for a long time, and in the past 50 years have made many attempts. This is the first time it’s succeeded. She attributes the success to the method used by her team.

“Unfortunately, we do go out with remote-operated vehicles that do scare them away, but the submersibles and the camera system I was using are unobtrusive and I think that will allow us to see a whole lot more. … We were exploring in a different way than ever before,” she said. “In the past we were scaring them away. (Our team) used a red light that they can’t see and an optical lure to draw them in towards us.”

Widder said she hopes the discovery “will help people feel different about the ocean, in general.”

Source: CBS News

Herbert W. Hoover Foundation Supports Stark County Water Testing Project

Making The Invisible Visible: Water Quality in Stark County’ to provide critical information and education on Nimishillen Creek watershed

CANTON, Ohio (PRWEB) June 04, 2012

In a unique and groundbreaking collaboration, students from five colleges and universities in Stark County, and several nationally recognized science and environmental partners, will focus on testing local water resources beginning June 5. The water sampling project, Making the Invisible Visible: Water Quality in Stark County, is funded by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation.

In addition, the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation is pleased to sponsor guest speaker, Edith Widder, Ph.D., acclaimed biologist and co-founder and CEO of Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA). Widder will be at Kent State University at Stark on Tuesday, June 5, from 8:00-10:00 a.m. to address students, faculty and community leaders before they begin testing. Nearly 20 students are expected to participate from Kent State University at Stark, Stark State College, Malone University, the University of Mount Union and Walsh University.

Students will utilize ORCA’s Fast Assessment of Sediment Toxicity procedure to analyze water and collect baseline sediment particles from 75 sites along the Nimishillen Creek Watershed. The samples will then be scientifically analyzed for pollutants in laboratories at the universities and colleges, as well as ORCA’s home base in Florida. This will complement and support EPA-mandated monitoring in the region. Researchers from the local colleges and universities who specialize in these areas will lead the efforts in additional testing, which include sampling of other water quality parameters, macro invertebrates, pH levels and habitat type and quality, among others.

An environmental filmmaking team composed of award-winning filmmaker, Ali Habashi; filmmaker Colton Hoover Chase; and journalism professors and students from Kent State University, will document the project. Making the Invisible Visible is an ongoing component of the HOOVER INITIATIVE IN ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA at Kent State University at Stark.

“The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation is proud to fund such an important project that brings multiple educational institutions and disciplines together working toward a common goal: to help us better understand our environment,” said Colton Hoover Chase, Vice Chairman of the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation. Chase’s primary focus is on ecosystem science and specifically how to articulate issues facing the environment to the general public through the use of film and other new media forms. He continued, “The Foundation funded this water sampling project in the hopes that we could enhance the visibility of water issues, and help communities like ours work on solutions to keep these waterways pristine.”

According to Dr. Penny L. Bernstein, Associate Professor Biological Sciences at Kent State University at Stark and project coordinator, “Agencies do not have the resources needed to sample water throughout Stark County on a regular basis. Making the Invisible Visible provides science education to students throughout the County, and additional baseline water quality data for the County’s watershed, supplementing the more periodic data from the EPA and other agencies.”

For more information regarding Making the Invisible Visible: Water Quality in Stark County, or to see clips of the students in action, please visit

About the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation

Herbert W. Hoover was an industrialist and early leader in the conservation movement, fighting to protect natural resources in both Ohio and Florida through accurate scientific research, public information and education. Founded in 1990, the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation has taken up the mantle, and established itself as a leader in funding unique opportunities that provide solutions to issues related to the Community, Education, and the Environment. For more information, visit or email contact hwh(at)hwhfoundation(dot)org.

Tiffini Bloniarz


Source / Credit: Yahoo! News

Other Coverage on this Event

Massillon Independent – Testing the water: College students help determine its quality
June 6, 2012

Canton Repository – Area colleges help track pollution of Stark’s waterways

June 6, 2012

North Canton Patch (online publication) – What’s in Your Water? Kent Stark Students, Faculty Embark on Project to Find Out

June 6, 2012

Kent State University – Natural Collaboration: Dr. Penny Bernstein

June 5, 2012


HWH funded research at University of Miami pinpoints sharks as clues to Human Diseases

HWH funded research at University of Miami pinpoints sharks as clues to Human Diseases.

Michelle Gillen
by Michele Gillen

MIAMI – February 22, 2012 – (CBS4) – As a top marine researcher, Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, scours the oceans in search of sharks.

On a recent afternoon aboard a research boat, Hammerschlag and his team from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, found what they refer to as an “amazing” creature.

“Any day that you can see a shark is an amazing day,” Hammerschlag said. “Sharks are in a lot of trouble. They need all the help they can get.”

Hammerschlag studies the mythical sea creatures to discover how their ailments could be linked to the development of human diseases.

“The shark is sending us an SOS,” he said as he traveled on a boat with his research team. “I’m attempting to draw blood.”

It’s an SOS about a health threat that not only affects sharks, but also affects man. His team has found links between the sharks and diseases that cripple and kill humans.

“Toxins that can give you Alzheimer’s, dementia, ALS, Parkinson’s. Pretty scary stuff,” Hammerschlag said.

Back on land, his partner Dr. Deborah Mash, a professor of Neurology for the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, studies his findings inside a lab.

“This is a first. No one has seen this data,” Mash said.

“Is there a footprint suggesting an SOS from the shark?” CBS4’s Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen asked.

“There is,” Mash said. “He is an apex predator, as we are. He is going to mirror what we are doing to our bodies. The shark is giving us a mirror on what is coming into our diet. Showing us what is out there in our marine environment that can damage out bodies.”

The journey for answers begins with a dizzying display of precision, which begins with the intubation of the shark so that oxygenated water pours through its gills. Then, the sharks are examined, biopsied, blown on and electronically tagged.

For scientists and students, this is a key moment – not only tagging the shark but evaluating the blood and stress levels of the shark, for research the world awaits.

What they found in the shark fin? The neurotoxin BMAA (short for B-Methylamino-L-alanine), which is produced by an algae known as cyanobacteria, often found in lakes, oceans and the soil.

“We were really surprised at the level of detection of this toxin BMAA in the shark fins,” Mash said.

The team examined 100 samples from seven shark species.

“We found it in all but three samples that we tested. I never expected that. That means that it is very prevalent in the shark diet,” Mash said. “The results are staggering. I never predicted that we would see the incidence of this toxin in the large number of shark samples off the South Florida coastal waters.”

When asked why this toxin is so dangerous, Mash said, “This toxin has been shown to damage neurons. Neurons are the primary building block of the brain.”

SharksThe toxin, which has been shown to kill brain cells, has turned up – repeatedly – in Mash’s studies of the human brain – particularly of the brains of victims of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson and Lou Gehrig’s patients.

“We are detecting BMAA in the brains of the patients that have donated them for research,” Mash said. “That is why we are seeing linkage with Alzheimer’s and with Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

If the shark holds clues to brain-based diseases that have the potential to affect everybody – it’s even more chilling that the shark is threatened today because of a demand for soup made from its fin.

“100 million sharks are killed a year,” Hammerschlag said. “A rate of 270,000 sharks per day mostly to make shark fin soup.”

The soup is considered a delicacy and sign of prosperity in Asian cultures. But South Florida’s team of scientific detectives are just publishing their work that suggests consumers might want to think twice before biting into a food that tradition says will bring them luck.

“If you consume shark fin products or you use this in your diet, yes, you are going to be exposed to increasing amounts of BMAA’s,” Mash said. “With repeat exposure throughout the life span, it could put someone at risk for a brain disorder like Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

All this is the first chapter of a medical mission aimed at unearthing clues that link man – the oceans top predator – and our survival.

“This is all about human health and this is all about the risk to human health,” Mash said. “And the shark may give us the fundamental clue that allows us to make a great breakthrough.”


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