Home Energy and Environment “One Year Into Oil Disaster, Promise to Restore Gulf Remains Unfulfilled”

“One Year Into Oil Disaster, Promise to Restore Gulf Remains Unfulfilled”

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Video and press release courtesy of Blue Virginia blogger and National Wildlife Federation environmental champion Miles Grant. The bottom line: the Gulf’s still in bad shape, one year after the BP oil disaster, and yet the Dirty Energy industry and its puppet politicians are already clamoring to start “drill baby drill”ing once again. That is utterly reckless and irresponsible, barring two things: 1) a full understanding of what went wrong last year; 2) as close to a fail-safe plan as is humanly possible to ensure that this never happens again. (unless, of course, you enjoy seeing images of oiled pelicans, like the one below)

P.S. So much for BP’s promises to “make it right’ in the Gulf. One year later, it’s not even close, and there’s no sign that it ever will be “right” again.

Washington, DC (April 20, 2011) – Today marks one year since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers. Two days later, the rig sank and the resulting gusher would eventually release nearly 206 million gallons of oil. The disaster dealt a new setback to a Gulf ecosystem already struggling with years of wetlands degradation and the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

One year into the Gulf oil disaster, the oil is still here, the promises are forgotten, and Congress still hasn’t done its job. Congress must pass legislation that dedicates fines and penalties from the disaster to restoring Gulf Coast wetlands and ecosystems. The only fair and right solution is for those fines to go to the Gulf region to help the people and communities hurt by the disaster. A healthy Gulf ecosystem will lead to economic recovery.

On the issue of drilling safety, spill containment has not kept pace with advances in deepwater drilling technology. The same decades-old methods used during the Exxon Valdez cleanup were deployed in the Gulf – with familiar results. As regulators continue to hand out permits allowing oil companies drill to unprecedented depths, we must be certain that they possess the means to quickly and efficiently seal off another catastrophic gusher.

Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

Touring Louisiana’s Bay Jimmy yesterday, we saw marshes still covered in more than an inch of oil. Crews were scraping oiled sediment, one bucket load at a time. The oil is but the latest onslaught on Louisiana’s disappearing coastal marshes and islands. Some 2,300 square miles of land have been lost thanks to more than a century of subsidence, channelization, dredging, and erosion, much of it associated with oil and gas development. In short, Louisiana’s wetlands continue to be sacrificed to satisfy our country’s addiction to oil.

If we’re going to give a decent future to the Gulf Coast’s wildlife, wetlands, commercial fisheries and the very way of life of local residents, the only answer is implementation of a comprehensive plan for large-scale restoration of coastal wetlands and ecosystems.

View photos of Dr. Inkley’s trip at NWF’s Flickr and view a video recap at NWF’s YouTube. Dr. Inkley’s new report, The Long Road to Recovery, details what we know about the Gulf oil disaster’s impacts on key species and habitats, what to watch out for in the months and years ahead, and how we can help aid recovery.

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The National Wildlife Federation is celebrating 75 years of inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.