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Briefing on restoring Gulf ecology and economy to be held Nov. 16

A briefing to discuss efforts to restore ecological and economic vitality to the Gulf of Mexico will be held on Wed., Nov. 16, and will feature a host of panelists and lawmakers from all the states affected by last year’s massive BP oil spill.

As a flyer advertising the event suggests, the briefing will “explore perspectives from science, economics, business, and industry on restoring the flow of ecosystem services that support the economic vitality of the Gulf of Mexico.”

In addition to economists, oceanographers and scientists, panelists will include Timothy Reilly, a managing partner of CatVest Petroleum. According to its weebsite, CatVest “offers pre-disaster risk financing to manage and transfer the risks of large-scale oil, gas and chemical spill risks from industry to the capital markets using instruments such as catastrophe bonds and insurance-linked securities.”

A reception held after the briefing will feature remarks from legislators, including Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. A Senate lunch briefing will be held in the early afternoon, and a House briefing is scheduled for that evening.

The briefing is sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Compass Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea and the National Research Council of the National Academies. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership recently hosted a roundtable discussion on its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long-term restoration. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., attended the discussion, which featured a panel with reps from NOAA, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and the Harte Research Institute.

According to recent reports, BP (the company responsible for last year’s tragic oil spill) will soon begin winding down its cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico, and instead focus on restoring some of the most hard-hit areas.

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