The Oil Is Still Here, and So Are We
In April of 2010, the largest environmental disaster in American history began – BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. Over 200 million barrels of oil and almost 2 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants were released into the Gulf of Mexico. Four years later, the communities and ecosystems of the Gulf continue to feel the impacts.
- Oil, tar balls, and tar mats are still surfacing on Gulf coast marshes and beaches, with significant amounts churned up every time there is a big storm in the Gulf.
- Science showing impacts at all levels of the food chain – from fewer microorganisms to dead dolphins washing ashore.
- BP’s crude and dispersant accelerating Louisiana’s coastal wetlands loss crisis
Victory for a Healthy Gulf
On July 6, 2012, the RESTORE Act was passed, which directs 80% of BP’s Clean Water Act fines back to the Gulf for ecosystem and economic restoration. These fines, which could range from $4-18 billion dollars, represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jumpstart long-needed restoration efforts in the Gulf, including rebuilding barrier islands, restoring wetlands, and improving natural storm protections that support our wildlife and communities.
Restoring the Gulf
It’s going to be a long road towards restoration, but GRN will be working hard to watchdog restoration efforts over the coming years. In addition to BP fines from the RESTORE Act, other processes are also in place to fund restoration and protection of the Gulf in the wake of the disaster. A Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is currently underway, with BP committing $1 billion dollars in early restoration. The ultimate goal of the NRDA process is to restore the Gulf back to what it was on April 19, 2010, before BP’s oil ever fouled our waters. For more detailed info on the RESTORE Act and NRDA, take a look at the Environmental Law Institute’s Gulf Coast Restoration Timeline.
In the wake of the disaster, GRN:
- Immediately began independent monitoring of the impacts and response, conducting over 100 monitoring trips to date (see photos from our monitoring trips on our Flickr page).
- Continues to keep the story alive and people engaged through our Gulf Tides video series, media outreach, events, grassroots research, and action alerts.
- Has taken a lead role in the Gulf Future Coalition, a group of fishermen, social justice, and environmental and community groups, to present specific demand of decision makers on all levels focused on marine resiliency, coastal restoration, community recovery, and public health.
- Works to push to make sure BP is held accountable for their actions, and to watchdog restoration dollars as they begin to flow to the Gulf.
Get involved in the effort – click here to sign a petition calling on BP to come clean about its impacts and restore the Gulf.