Three Months of BP’s Disaster – Senator Landrieu, the people have spoken

Today is the 3-month mark of BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf. Natives, residents, visitors, and lovers of Louisiana made our voices heard and our presence known at the Federal Building in downtown New Orleans. Our purpose: to demand that Louisiana’s political leadership, specifically Senator Mary Landrieu, take the causes and impacts of the oil and gas industry’s activities in the Gulf and wetlands seriously.Fifty to seventy people gathered on the street to hold protest signs, write letters to Landrieu, chant our demands in unison, and listen to speakers about the various issues encompassing Louisiana and the Gulf’s current disaster.Together, we demanded that Senator Landrieu stick up for the Gulf, our communities, and our wetlands – NOT big oil. She needs to support regulatory reform that will make sure another oil disaster can’t happen in the future, fight to move our country to a clean energy economy, and work to make sure that oil and gas companies pay their fair share for coastal restoration. Concerned citizens placed their “oily” hand prints on a large sheet of paper as a petition signature demanding that Landrieu protect our wetlands and get that oil off her hands. As one of Congress’ top recipients of big oil money, as well as BP’s largest beneficiary in Congress, it’s clear that Senator Landrieu, needs to get her priorities straight. Twenty-one people hand-wrote letters to Mary on the spot. One of the main themes for the letters was that she needs to stand up for people and our environment, not for big oil.Diverse Louisianans, New Orleanians, and visitors from everywhere have experienced south Louisiana quite viscerally in the form of culinary, musical, and cultural knowledge passed down from generation to generation and experienced here on a daily basis. But what happens when the land and water that gave us life and knowledge are destroyed right under our very noses?Historically, Louisiana has depended on gas and oil as a huge slice of our economy, and Louisiana’s politicians have long been sponsored by contributions from the gas and oil companies. This has driven a double-spiked dagger into the heart of south Louisiana’s very real connection to the land and the water.Most people here, including Senator Landrieu, know that Louisiana’s coastal wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate (a football field every 45 minutes) due to human impacts… Unfortunately, Senator Landrieu refuses to recognize the impacts of the oil and gas industry. How can she let them continue to destroy the wetlands and the Gulf without any interest in accountability to the people and the land they profit from?It’s clear that Louisiana’s political leadership has much to account for, and much to re-prioritize. Here in south Louisiana our environment is our most precious economical resource, and if we don’t take care of it now, what – really – will we have to live on? Once we recognize that we’ve been playing a short-sighted game – money and oil now trumping people and wetlands in the future – we can start looking for alternatives and new ideas.Solutions exist. Disaster response and cleanup will take years if not decades. Coastal restoration and protection will be a huge effort that can create a legion of new jobs & industries, as will the transition to a cleaner, greener infrastructure and energy sources.Senator Landrieu, the people have spoken: we’re tired of dirty money and destructive oil. We need you, Louisiana leadership, and Congress, to wash your hands of it. Stand with us and for us. Fight for our wetlands and communities. We need clean energy, and we want our Gulf and wetlands back now.Sunshine Bond is a Campaign Assistant at GRN.

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