A Long Day to Mark a Long Year of BP’s Disaster

On April 20, around the Gulf and the nation, people gathered, rallied, discussed, mourned, and called for action to commemorate the one-year mark of BP’s oil drilling disaster that continues to plague the people and places of the Gulf of Mexico.In New Orleans, the day began with a sunrise candlelight vigil hosted by the Sierra Club to honor the 11 lives lost due to oil industry negligence. From there it was off to the Gulf Coast Leadership Forum for a Gulf Ecosystem Health and Restoration Panel and the unveiling of Gulf Future: A Unified Action Plan for a Healthy Gulf.In Biloxi, over 100 people gathered, most of them Vietnamese-American fishermen, to release the Gulf Future Action Plan and remind the nation that the coast, ecosystem, and people of coastal Mississippi have yet to be made whole.Louisiana fishermen gathered in Plaquemines Parish to send the message that recovery for them and their communities is still a long way away.In Austin, Texas, our partners at the Galveston Baykeeper and Sierra Club put on a great event that included a second-line for the Gulf that brought the Gulf Future message right to the front door of BP’s Austin office.Folks gathered for a sunset candlelight vigil in St. Petersburg, FL to release the Gulf Future Action Plan.After a Town Hall meeting with community groups and folks who have been made sick by the BP disaster, the day came to a close in New Orleans with an incredible show at Tipitina’s French Quarter featuring Dr. John, Drew Landry, Shannon McNally and Fi Yi Yi. Just around the block, Harmony for Health put on a great show with Kevin Costner’s band, Captain Paul Watson, Sasafrass, and Voice of the Wetlands All Stars (with special guest Allen Toussaint!).This is only a small sampling of the events that took place throughout the country. It’s fitting that after all the damage that BP’s disaster has done to the people, wildlife, and places of the Gulf this year and all that’s happened over the last 367 days, there would be too many memorial activities to list.Perhaps the most striking thing about the last year, though, is the lack of action from Congress to truly learn the lessons of the BP oil drilling disaster. In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, much must still be done.We need you to stay in the fight for the Gulf. Please visit www.bpdrillingdisaster.org and take action. And keep watching, the BP disaster in the Gulf is not over.Aaron Viles is GRN’s Deputy Director

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