Gulf Coalition Calls for Strong Action on Climate Change

For immediate release: 
June 25, 2013

Contacts:
Casey Roberts
, 504.982.0468. Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Energy
Raleigh Hoke, 504-525-1528, ext. 204 or  573-795-1916, Communications Director, Gulf Restoration Network

Gulf Coalition Calls for Strong Action on Climate Change
Encourages Congressional Delegation to Cease its Opposition

US Gulf Coast:  President Obama’s announcement on climate change is getting strong support from a coalition of Gulf Coast organizations and individuals relieved that the President is finally taking strong action.  
 
“The future of the Gulf Coast and the nation depends on strong, swift and decisive national leadership on climate change,” said Derrick Evans, Executive Director of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.  “The hopeful and resilient people of the overburdened Gulf Coast, aka the Energy Coast, earnestly applaud President Obama's historic announcement.  The time for truth, courage and change is now.”
 
The Gulf south region has lived uncomfortably with the oil and gas industry for decades.  From the air and water pollution to the political contamination, the people of the Gulf Coast have struggled with the powerful fossil fuel-based industry sector, which continues its assault on alternative energy in the region.
 
"On Wednesday, the Louisiana Public Service Commission will be debating whether to support energy efficiency and solar power,” said Casey DeMoss Roberts, Executive Director of the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “Both are affordable, clean, and the technology is available now. That said, the debate at the Commission is going to be fierce. National leadership is desperately needed.”
 
“Economically, we are fully aware of the Gulf Coast's extremely high concentration of workers in the oil and gas sector.  By no means will the shift of labor and infrastructure to renewables be quick or easy, but survival demands that we embrace and navigate this shift as earnestly and swiftly as possible.  President Obama's announcement is an important step towards achieving the only real option we have,“ explained Shana Griffin, Managing Advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund.
 
Despite the region’s extreme vulnerability to climate change, Gulf state politicians have largely ignored the problem.  Louisiana’s delegation is currently seeking billions of dollars of Federal support for coastal restoration while undermining any effort to slow sea level rise.

“The Gulf has long suffered the brunt of the damage from the nation’s addiction to dirty energy, and even now, new coal export terminal expansions are threatening coastal restoration projects in Louisiana” said Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director with the Gulf Restoration Network. “We’re pleased to see the President take a strong step towards slowing climate change, but for many communities in the Gulf, time is running out.”
 
Louisiana’s coast has lost almost 2,000 square miles largely due to actions by the oil industry. According to renowned climate scientist Kerry Emanuel of MIT, Katrina was probably made stronger by man-made climate change, a trend that is predicted to continue. The demand for oil led BP to make dangerous cost cutting decisions that led to the death of 11 men, billions of dollars in damages, and another toxic legacy for the Gulf Coast.
 
“When Gulf Coast Senators and some of our representatives assail the President for today’s actions,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, “remember that they are in the pockets of big oil and dirty coal. They do not represent the interests of the ordinary people in Louisiana. We are impacted by climate change. Our Congress people need to get with it or go and join the dinosaurs.”
 
"I applaud the President's Climate Action Plan, but the plan will fall flat without complete divestment from the destructive extraction of tar sand oil and rejection of any pipelines, trucks, barges or rail that purport to deliver the toxic sludge to refineries in the U.S.," said Bryan Parras, with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services. “Only honest and comprehensive actions will ensure that future generations will live in a cleaner more stable environment.”
 
“The proposed influx of Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast via pipeline, rail and barge will only increase carbon pollution in the region,” added Mr. Evans. “The time for truth, courage and change is now.”

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The Alliance for Affordable Energy advocates for fair, affordable, environmentally responsible, community-based energy.  Since 1985, the Alliance has been working as a watchdog agency to help work toward solutions to our energy problems and ensure that information about these problems is accessible to the public.
 
The Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health is a grantmaking institution that supports progressive movement building in the Gulf Coast region.
 
The Gulf Restoration Network is committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf Region.
 
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is a environmental health and justice organization working with communities that neighbor the state's oil refineries and chemical plants. The Bucket Brigade works to support the use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution.
 
Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services  (t.e.j.a.s.) is dedicated to providing community members with the tools necessary to create sustainable, environmentally healthy communities by educating individuals on health concerns and implications arising from environmental pollution, empowering individuals with an understanding of applicable environmental laws and regulations and promoting their enforcement, and offering community building skills and resources for effective community action and greater public participation.
 
Turkey Creek Community Initiatives is an innovative community development corporation engaged in the comprehensive revitalization of coastal Mississippi's low-income, historic, and environmentally challenged Turkey Creek community and watershed.

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