Home Energy and Environment BP Oil Disaster Still Haunting the Gulf Coast

BP Oil Disaster Still Haunting the Gulf Coast

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( – promoted by lowkell)

Cross posted from Article XI

Shhh… Do you hear that?  The silence is deafening.  It’s the sound of the mainstream media covering the one year anniversary of the BP oil disaster.

One year ago today, the largest oil spill in American history took place in the Gulf of Mexico.  For four months, the nation’s attention was focused on a geyser of oil coming up from the ocean floor.  Then one day the oil stopped flowing and the well was capped.

I had the good fortune to meet some fantastic people during the BP oil spill.  Working with Sierra Club and Environment America we flew up three victims from the Gulf Coast to tell their story to folks in Virginia.  They were here the day the oil stopped flowing.

Chris Seaman, who owns a chain of restaurants along the Gulf Coast of Florida was in my car when the well was capped.  He turned to me and told me how happy and worried he was at the same time.  

He was happy because the oil had stopped flowing and the American public would come back to his beaches again. He was worried because he knew the media crews were leaving, and along with them the commitment to restoring the Gulf Coast that had just began to take hold across the country.

The worries that Chris had that day were well-founded.  The media stopped covering the BP oil tragedy, most folks assumed the oil disappeared and politics as usual returned to Washington, DC.  In the year that has passed since this unspeakable tragedy occurred off the Louisiana coast, the United States has not taken meaningful action to break our addiction to oil.

Big Oil continues to rake in record profits, Congress has still not acted to hold BP accountable and thousands of working families and small business owners in the Gulf are still struggling to recover.

Oil executives and their lobbyists are raking in millions in bonuses for their ‘best year ever’ and lobbying Congress to open more of our land and water – even the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – for risky and dangerous drilling.

The oil industry continues to brush off the dangers and high costs of offshore drilling – costs that the people of the Gulf are all too familiar with.  

The current inaction on Capitol Hill is unacceptable.  Congress needs to finally hold BP and Big Oil fully accountable for their disaster in the Gulf by ending tax breaks for wealthy oil companies and adopting the recommendations of the bipartisan Oil Spill Commission. These first steps are critical to helping make Gulf communities whole again and ensuring that we never again experience another BP Oil Disaster.

The only way to truly protect our communities and our oceans is to end Big Oil’s stranglehold on our economy and break our addiction to oil. Instead of chasing dirty, dead-end fossil fuels, we should be investing in 21st Century transportation solutions like smarter, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, electric vehicles and mass transit.

The time is now for leadership from Congress – the restoration of the Gulf, the health of our economy and the safety of all Americans depends on it.