Women of the Storm
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
Women of the Storm was established in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. It is made up of Louisiana women whose families, businesses and lives have been affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The group sought to have elected officials visit the areas ravaged by the hurricanes to see the damage for themselves. The group advocates Congressional funding of a plan to restore the wetlands of the Gulf of Mexico.
Women of the Storm coordinates the controversial "Be the One" campaign, put on by a third group called Restore the Gulf, that formed after BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The campaign put out a public service announcement (PSA) starring celebrities like Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, Lenny Kravitz and others, who all urge people to "Be the one to help restore America's Gulf." The celebrities ask people to sign a petition that says, "I demand that a plan to restore America's Gulf be fully funded and implemented for me and future generations." The petition seeks to have Congress and the Obama administration fund and implement a program of coastal restoration.
According to RestoreTheGulf.com, the group urges restoration of the Gulf in part because "This nation requires a healthy Gulf of Mexico for a number of reasons involving domestic energy, shipping, seafood, ecology, recreation and culture. America's Gulf produces nearly half of the U.S. domestic energy supply..." The emphasis on pushing for a taxpayer-funded plan to clean up the gulf, and the group's emphasis on continuing energy production in the Gulf in the wake of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster has drawn criticism. The group has also drawn criticism for partnering with America's Wetland Foundation.
Actress pulls out
Actress Sandra Bullock says now that she wants no part in the project because of a report that says the organization involved with the petition has the backing of oil companies, among other corporations.
The founder of Women of the Storm is Anne Milling, who is married to R. King Milling, director of America's Wetland Foundation, a group that accepts funding from large energy companies like BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Shell, Citgo, Marathon Oil and others. R. King Milling also served as President of Whitney Bank and its parent company, Whitney Holding Corporation from 1984 to 2007. The bank is the largest in Louisiana, and it finances the oil and gas industry and depends upon its growth. Whitney Bank capital is heavily vested in offshore and onshore energy production, chemical refining, shipping, and other businesses that have contributed to the destruction of the marshes and swamps that used to provide safety from storms, food, and a home for the millions who live along the Gulf Coast.
On the "Members" page of their website they say, "Despite the title of this section of our site, there's no real "membership" in Women of the Storm. We count anyone who does anything to support us as among our number - whether it's contact Congress, offer financial support, or ask your friends and colleagues in key states to help."
Accessed December 2010:
- Anne Milling, Founder
- Pamela M. Bryan
- Naydja Bynum
- Beverly R. Church
- Rebecca Currence
- Carmen Duncan
- Peggy Laborde
- Nancy Marsiglia
- Diana Pinckley
- Alexis B. Robinson
- Dolly Simpson
- Liz Sloss
- Sally Suthon
- Madeline West
- Association of Junior Leagues, International
- The Links, Incorporated
- National Council of Jewish Women
- Friends of New Orleans
- America's Wetland Foundation
- Coast Guardians
- Ducks Unlimited
Email: info AT womenofthestorm.net
The group gives no physical address on its web site.
Marmillion & Company, New Orleans
504 756-0101 (cell)
jh AT mcopr.com
Women of the Storm
diana AT zehno.com
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Women of the Storm About Women of the Storm - Overview Organizational Web page, accessed August 2, 2010
- Paul Bignell, Big Oil's PR machine takes a hit over celeb-backed greenwash", The Independent, August 1, 2010.
- Darwin Bond-Graham, "Women of the Storm and the Men Who Love Them", Counterpunch, August 2, 2010
- Members, Women of the Storm, accessed December 2010.
- Executive Committee, Women of the Storm, accessed December 2010.
- Partner organizations, Women of the Storm, accessed December 2010.
- Kathleen Parker, "Where's the aid for the oft-ravaged Gulf Coast?", The Washington Post, July 28, 2010.