Gulf Coast, America - Today, thirty-one organizations unveiled a collaborative effort called Gulf Future: A Unified Action Plan for A Healthy Gulf. The diverse group is made up of fishermen, faith leaders, environmentalists, clean-up workers, and residents who live, work, and play on the Gulf Coast. The organizations come from all five Gulf Coast states and represent culturally and racially diverse communities.
“The oil is still here, and so are we,” says Cynthia Sarthou of the Gulf Restoration Network, “After a year, it’s ridiculous that there has not yet been any Congressional action to restore the Gulf or prevent future oil disasters.”
Divided into four areas of concern - marine restoration and resiliency, coastal restoration and resiliency, community recovery and resiliency, and public health – the Gulf Future action plan expresses immediate goals—including specific demands of Congress, federal agencies, and the Obama administration—for a healthy and whole Gulf Coast.
“Our group is advocating for at least 80% of fines resulting from the BP drilling disaster be directed to ecosystem restoration in the Gulf coast”, said Chassidy Hobbs, the Emerald Coastkeeper.
“The administration and Congress must take action now to implement the Oil Spill Commission recommendations including the creation of a Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council to oversee future oil and gas activity in the Gulf”, said Cynthia Sarthou of the Gulf Restoration Network.
“State and Federal governments must build a shared resilience strategy for all communities to self-determine and engage in a meaningful way in the recovery of the Gulf Coast”, Monique Harden of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.
"For the people living on the Gulf Coast, the disaster is not over. Residents across the Gulf have been exposed to BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants. Coastal communities are concerned about a growing public health crisis, a lack of health care providers trained to treat chemical exposure, and inadequate testing of local seafood. Entire cultures and livelihoods are in peril, including the subsistence fishing practiced by so many families living on the Gulf,” said LaTosha Brown from the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health.
For a full copy of Gulf Future: A Unified Action Plan for a Healthy Gulf and list of supporting organizations, please visit www.gulffuture.org.