Gulf Oil Tragedy – Time for our President to Act

Just two days before Earth Day, a few weeks after President Obama’s call to increase drilling in off-shore areas, an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, 45 miles off of Louisiana’s coast, near the Breton and Delta National Wildlife Refuges.Tragically, it appears that 11 missing crewmembers have been killed. In addition to the human tragedy, the environmental crisis is unfolding as I type this.The massive oil slick has grown to over 2,000 square miles. It hasn’t come aground in sensitive coastal areas yet, but it is only a matter of time. The marine impacts could be enormous due to the massive volume of the leak, currently estimated at 42,000 gallons a day. The area of the spill is important habitat for endangered sperm whales, many species of threatened and endangered sea turtles, the Gulf’s mysterious whale shark population, and is close to blue fin tuna spawning grounds. This is an environmental disaster of epic proportions.We need the President to demand every appropriate federal agency is helping monitor and study the marine impacts while cleaning up the mess in the shortest possible time. It’s also time to reconsider expanding oil drilling on our coasts.Oil giant BP holds the drilling lease, and is funding the clean-up. Unfortunately, we believe the response has been inadequate. We flew over the accident site Sunday and and didn’t see any active skimming or oil boom deployment. For the marine impacts to be quantified, we need all hands on deck and on the water.Help us urge the Obama administration to demand more of a response at the spill site, and ask him to reconsider opening more coastal areas up for these types of catastrophes.Aaron Viles is GRN’s campaign director

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