By Heber Taylor, The Daily News
GALVESTON, TX – January 15, 2021 – The Gulf of Mexico Foundation is moving its headquarters to Galveston. It will be a good fit, and it will allow people in Galveston County to play a role in one of the most interesting questions our country faces in the next 100 years: How to responsibly use the resources of the Gulf of Mexico.
After the Deepwater Horizon spill, President Barack Obama, by executive order, set up the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The task force looked beyond that one catastrophic accident and focused attention on the health of the Gulf.
The five Gulf Coast states — Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida — are economically important. If they were a single country, they’d rank seventh in the world in gross domestic product.
The regional economy is tied to the obvious natural resource — the Gulf.
The region accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s offshore oil and gas production, but it also provides a third of the nation’s seafood. There also are other significant interests along the coast, including tourism.
Here’s the problem: The economies of those industries are so intertwined that they depend on each other. If you could make the offshore oil industry disappear overnight, the water might be cleaner for fisheries and for tourism, but the population of the Gulf Coast would be depleted and both industries would suffer. Even when people have competing uses for the Gulf’s resources, they need each other to be viable.
The Gulf of Mexico Foundation will be a leader in exploring the question of how competing interests can wisely use the natural resources of the Gulf’s ecosystems.
The foundation’s president and CEO, Quenton R. Dokken, has a doctorate in marine sciences. Part of his business is about scientific solutions to problems facing the Gulf, such as loss of wetlands. But he also talks about the importance of identifying solutions that are socially — as well as scientifically — viable.