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  • May 28, 2010

    Marshall: Sportsmen and Obama on Oil Drilling Reform

    By Bob Marshall

    After watching President Obama announce his plans for reforming the permitting process and regulations on oil and gas drilling Thursday, a thought occurred to me: We sportsmen couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.

    Of course, that’s because we’ve been demanding just such reforms for the better part of eight years.

    As BP’s blown well continued the environmental mugging of the Gulf of Mexico, a steady stream of news reports revealed what sportsmen have been complaining about since the era of "regulatory reform" was ushered in about 10 years ago. Some of the highlights:

  • May 20, 2010

    Marshall: Why Deep Ocean Drilling is Such a Threat

    By Bob Marshall

    Since the beginning of the BP oil disaster, industry experts have never failed to speak-- usually in reverent terms-- about the science involved in deep ocean drilling. You probably remember hearing this refrain “It rivals what we do in space.”

    Actually, space work is easier. And that's a very, very important point.

  • May 19, 2010

    Herring: Good Links for Following the Oil Spill

    By Hal Herring

    We may be home from the Louisiana coast for now, but our worries have not been left behind. The story of the oil spill is still unfolding. These are some of the resources that we are tracking every day.

    Best satellite imagery of oil spill from NASA, updated daily
    Best resource for oil spill coverage, including Bob Marshall’s reporting for the Time-Picayune.

  • May 18, 2010

    Herring: Hunting and Fishing With 450 Million People

    By Hal Herring

    You could say that I’m reading it so you won’t have to. The book is The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 by Joel Kotkin, a professor at Chapman University in California, and a scholar of economics, sociology, and the history of cities.  The Next Hundred Million celebrates what to some of us will be a disturbing fact: the US is one of the only industrialized "First World” countries that is experiencing rapid population growth. By 2050, the US will have a population of 400-450 million people.

    According to Joel Kotkin, we are moving into a new golden age, where our economy, based on the needs and the production of so many human beings, and based on the freedoms that our citizens enjoy, will make our country the most competitive and powerful nation on earth.

    There are a lot of questions raised with Kotkin’s  view - water supplies, the loss of agricultural lands, and how the new society- which he sees as living mostly in vast suburbs- will be supplied with energy for its homes and cars. Kotkin does note that greenways “could provide a break from the monotony……and ideal sites for the preservation of wildlife.”

    Nowhere in the book is hunting or fishing ever mentioned.  That is not Kotkin’s subject. His subject is a US thriving with 400 to 450 million people.

  • May 12, 2010

    Oil Spill Live: What About the Rest of Us?

    By Bob Marshall

    "What about the rest of us" is a question that keeps ringing in my mind as I watch governments and BP move to compensate people suffering economic hardship due to the oil company's disastrous mistake in the Gulf of Mexico. A dominant theme in the reporting and commentary (including mine) has concerned the terrible economic impact on the commercial fishing community, charter boat operators, and beach tourism, and how the responsible parties should--and are--paying the bill.

    That's all proper. But what about the rest of us?

    What about you and me, the sportsmen, and the rest of the citizen-owners of these resources? We don't depend on these public properties to make our livings, but we do depend on them to make our lives better. And our claims are as just and valid as any others--and money might not heal the wounds.

  • May 10, 2010

    Oil Spill Live: What We Still Don't Know About the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    By Hal Herring

    Editor’s Note: Field & Stream Contributing Editor Hal Herring and photographer/FlyTalk blogger Tim Romano are at the Louisiana coast this week to cover the impact of the oil spill on the region’s sportsmen. Their reports, photographs, and videos will be posted here at The Conservationist blog.


    Photographer Tim Romano used this oil-coverd camera to shoot the following underwater video clip of an oil slick just off Louisiana's Chandeleur Islands this weekend.

    What we don’t know about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster would fill a shelf full of books.  The situation is as complex as the marsh systems and the deep blue Gulf itself. But for right now, here are five questions that top the almost endless list:

  • May 7, 2010

    Marshall: Oil Spill Uncertainty, and What We Know So Far

    By Bob Marshall


    A small piece of the vast mat of oil in the Gulf, photographed by Tim Romano just 12 miles from the port of Venice, Louisiana.

    Remember those movies about murder trails where the innocent guy is waiting for the jury to come back and tell him if he's going to live or die?

    Remember how the hero can only sit there and sweat, hoping and praying fate delivers him and his family an unjust and untimely demise?

    Remember how he constantly glances at the clock only to discover time is in slow motion, seconds stretching out like hours, hours like days, all the while glancing at that closed door wondering, fearing what might be going on beyond his control?

    Now you know how sportsmen feel along the Louisiana coast and all across the northern Gulf of Mexico. It's been more than two weeks since BP's Deepwater Horizon well blew and began pumping 210,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf each day, more than 3.2 million gallons in all, with no real end in sight. Predictions of imminent doom last weekend passed thanks to a stiff storm, but the spill this week continued to grow, continued to shutter recreational and commercial fisheries, continued to pose the ultimate threat of poisoning the most productive estuary in the lower 48 states.

  • May 7, 2010

    Oil Spill Live: Hard Working Boom Crews Give Some Anglers Hope

    By Hal Herring

    Editor’s Note: Field & Stream Contributing Editor Hal Herring and photographer/FlyTalk blogger Tim Romano are at the Louisiana coast this week to cover the impact of the oil spill on the region’s sportsmen. Their reports, photographs, and videos will be posted here at The Conservationist blog.

    Shell Beach, Louisiana—At Campo’s Marina, deep in the bayou, the 2225th Multi-Role Bridge Company of the Louisiana National Guard is fully deployed. Fit-looking soldiers load barges, as a series of monster hauler trucks back down the boat ramp into the black marsh water, dramatically unloading huge green metal cylinders that open like steroidal oyster shells as they fall, slamming down on the surface of the water with a roar (see photo above). Presto! One twentieth of a giant floating dock that will soon be stocked with huge rolls of boom, pallets of absorbent materials, bales of wooden stake-anchors, thousands of pounds of rope. When complete, the floating dock will be big enough to handle forklifts to offload all the materials onto the armada of shrimp and oyster boats that are waiting, crewed with fishermen idled by the spill and itching to get to work.

  • May 6, 2010

    Oil Spill Live: How Much Damage Will Dispersants Cause?

    By Hal Herring

    Editor’s Note: Field & Stream Contributing Editor Hal Herring and photographer/FlyTalk blogger Tim Romano are at the Louisiana coast this week to cover the impact of the oil spill on the region’s sportsmen. Their reports, photographs, and videos will be posted here at The Conservationist blog.

    12 miles off South Pass, Venice, Louisiana--I’m not trying to be dramatic, but the oil spill, once you find it, looks more like a wide and shimmering mat of raw sewage than petrochemicals released from thousands of feet beneath the bottom of the ocean. It is orange- one could surmise that it contains iron that is oxidizing like rusty blobs of pot metal, exposed to the air on the surface of what used to be blue water. Held in the hand, it has the consistency of warm axle grease, and is at least as hard to remove, given that we are far from the nearest tub of Go-Jo. In the orange mat, which stretches out of sight in the snake-like contours of the ocean current that pushes and pulls it, trash is mired, along with hundreds of rainbow–hued Portuguese men-of-war, the big jellyfish of the Gulf (see photo). At one point, a big loggerhead turtle can be seen, in the mat, eating an oil-covered man-of war. It has always amazed me that these turtles’ favorite snack is a hyper-weird creature with long tentacles covered with stinging cells, but the ocean is another world, not bound by the rules, or desires, or disgusts, of mankind.

  • May 6, 2010

    Oil Spill Live: A New Orleans Tackle Shop's Plea; "Fishing Hasn't Stopped"

    By Hal Herring

    Editor’s Note: Field & Stream Contributing Editor Hal Herring and photographer/FlyTalk blogger Tim Romano are at the Louisiana coast this week to cover the impact of the oil spill on the region’s sportsmen. Their reports, photographs, and videos will be posted here at The Conservationist blog.

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