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Articles by David Helvarg

David Helvarg is an author and president of the Blue Frontier Campaign, a marine conservation group. His last book, Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes has just been released in paperback. His new book is Saved by the Sea: A Love Story with Fish.

Featured Article

While sea levels are rising, Congress’ ocean IQ is receding.Tuesday’s election gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party and expanded its base in the Senate. And it will likely expand the partisan rancor of an increasingly dysfunctional political system mocked by a quarter-million folks at Comedy Central’s Rally to Restore Sanity last weekend.

But there’s not much humor to be found when you look at the likely effect of the election on the oceans. While ocean and coastal conservation has historically been a bipartisan issue, many moderate Republican House and Senate members who were once key advocates for marine protection — such as Rep. Jim Saxon of New Jersey, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, and Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island — are no longer there. In their place are anti-government zealots who distrust any regulation by land or by sea.

On the other side of the aisle, some normally progressive Democrats like Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) have strongly opposed plans to stop overfishing. He follows the lead of commercial fishers in his Massachusetts district who don’t use the same science-based ... Read more

All Articles

  • Will hurricanes rain down oil on the Gulf of Mexico?

    An oily mess on the Gulf coast.Photo: David HelvargBy the end of the summer, it could be raining oil along the Gulf of Mexico.  Hurricane Alex is the first of a series of 14 named storms predicted for the 2010 hurricane season. The Gulf is warmer than it’s been since before 2005 when unusually warm […]

  • Remembering my last oil spill

    It’s been three years since a container ship, the COSCO Busan, spilled 53,500 gallons of bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay, just after my return home to live on the bay by the sea that I love. Remnant oil still sometimes surfaces after it rains and the bay’s herring fishery has yet to recover.  Ten […]

  • An excerpt from The War Against the Greens takes a hard look at the Wise Use movement

    In 1988, the Wise Use movement was founded out of fear that George Bush Sr. was going to live up to his campaign pledge to be "the environmental president." This cabal of anti-environmental activists, organized by federally subsidized industries dependent on public lands, issued a natal document, the Wise Use Agenda. It called for, among other things: drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, logging Alaska's Tongass National Forest, opening wilderness to energy development, gutting the Endangered Species Act, and privatizing national parks. Today, the reactionary Wise Use Agenda has become the environmental policy of the administration of George Bush Jr.

  • Is the U.S. prepared for a major oil spill in its waters?

    In the wake of November’s massive oil spill off the coast of Spain that continues to despoil hundreds of miles of undeveloped shoreline, disrupt vast fisheries, and jeopardize the livelihoods of the people who depend on them, the European Union has begun to crack down on old, poorly maintained, single-hulled tankers like the sunken “Prestige.” […]