Two Years Later: BP’s Oil Disaster Continues, Support Still Needed to Restore and Protect the Gulf
Citizens Speak Out and Gulf Groups Release Progress Report
New Orleans, LA – After two years, the oil is still here, and the impacts of BP’s oil drilling disaster continue to manifest. Despite the dire situation, Congress has still not passed a single piece of legislation to help restore the Gulf and prevent future disasters. Today, impacted communities tell their stories, and the Gulf Future Coalition releases a Progress Report on the Gulf Future Action Plan.
“From oil in plankton to dead dolphins, the emerging science shows that the BP oil disaster continues to have wide-ranging impacts on the ecosystem of the Gulf,” said Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director of the Gulf Restoration Network, “While the potential for the Gulf of Mexico is still Excellent, progress by BP and government towards a full and fair recovery of the Gulf remains largely Unacceptable.”
“Here we are two years since this disaster began, and the communities of the Gulf Coast are still suffering ecological, economic, and health impacts that are essentially human rights violations,” stated Cherri Foytlin, a mother of 6 who walked from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Washington , DC, last year to share the plight of the Gulf. “Not one piece of legislation has broached the affects of the spill, not one health claim has been paid to folks who were impacted by toxic chemicals, not one piece of science has been taken seriously enough for the BP and the government to take definitive action. Justice has not been served.”
“The voices of Gulf citizens continue to be sidelined in the recovery process, while BP and industry return to business as usual in the Gulf,” noted Jill Mastrototaro, Gulf Coast Campaign Director for the Sierra Club. “Gulf communities have more than earned the right to hold BP, industry, and regulators accountable for their actions. A Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council comprised of community members and leaders from the region must be created to ensure a disaster of this magnitude never happens again.”
“For folks making a living in the Barataria Basin, like me, the oil disaster is far from over. Our speckled trout catch has practically disappeared,” explained Ryan Lambert, owner of Cajun Fishing Adventures and Vice President of the Louisiana Charter Boat Association. “Apparently that doesn’t mean much to the folks in DC, though, because they still haven’t gotten their act together to make sure BP’s Clean Water Act fines come back to restore the Gulf.”
The Gulf Future Coalition’s Unified Action Plan for a Healthy Gulf was developed by a diverse group made up of fishermen, faith leaders, environmentalists, and Gulf residents and released one year ago. It lays out the goals for a full and fair recovery in four categories: Marine Restoration and Resiliency, Coastal Restoration and Resiliency, Community Recovery and Resiliency, and Public Health. With the exception of Coastal Restoration and Resiliency, which received a Needs Improvement mark, progress was deemed Unacceptable in all other categories.
For a copy of the Progress Report on the Gulf Future Action Plan and the original Action Plan, please visit www.gulffuture.org.