"State of the Gulf" Released by Gulf Coast Waterkeepers!

The "State of the Gulf: A Status Report from the Gulf Coast Waterkeepers in the Wake of the BP Oil Disaster" report lays out seven key findings over one year after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil disaster from the prespective of Waterkeeper organizations on the Gulf Coast. In the report Save Our Gulf Waterkeepers discuss the results of initiative’s Environmental Monitoring Project from Louisiana to Florida and calls for long term environmental monitoring on the Gulf Coast to ensure full restoration and recovery.

Save Our Gulf is a coalition of Waterkeepers brought together in the wake of the BP oil disaster to lead the fight to restore and protect local watersheds, coastal communities and the Gulf of Mexico.  We hold polluters and decision makers accountable and promote the sustainability of our communities.  Our vision is for all communities to have waterways that are swimmable, drinkable and fishable.

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Key Findings:

¬    Long-term environmental monitoring is needed
¬    The BP oil disaster is ongoing
¬    This disaster affects both the nation and the Gulf Coast States
¬    There is a critical need for Citizen participation in the restoration decision-making process
¬    The growing public health concerns in Gulf Coast communities must be addressed
¬    All Clean Water Act fines must be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration
¬    The Gulf Region must show leadership by rebuilding, recovering, and restoring sustainability

Topics & Discussions:

Citizen Monitoring: Results of Save Our Gulf’s Sampling & the Examination of Government Sampling:
According to the testing results collected and analyzed by the Save Our Gulf Waterkeepers, the proclamation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the Gulf seafood was and continues to be safe for regular consumption may have been premature.

Health Concerns in the Communities: Residents who live and work on the water, particularly people in fishing communities and the first responders to the BP oil disaster, are increasingly falling ill. They are being ignored by the BP Victim’s Compensation Fund and denied health claims by Kenneth Feinberg and the GCCF. These victims are being dismissed and told to seek help elsewhere, without any referrals, suggestions, or support.

BP’s Public Relations Machine: The great disappearing oil trick: now you see it now you don’t! Through a strategic and very expensive public relations campaign, BP has managed to magically convince much of the country into believing the oil is gone.  The reality is the oil is not gone, and the long-term impacts are still largely unknown. Leading scientific studies demonstrate that three-fourths of the oil still lingers on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, creating an unprecedented and unknown new environmental reality for the Gulf Coast.

Where Do We Go from Here?   Creating an Action Plan for Recovery & Preventing Future Spills:
After a short off-shore oil drilling moratorium, permits are being issued with no significant technological procedures adopted to prevent future spills of this magnitude from happening again. The BP oil disaster proved that the industry and the federal and state government agencies regulating and monitoring these permits were not, and are still NOT prepared for oil spills of National Significance.  Lessons not learned are bound to happen again.  Save Our Gulf believes that comprehensive long-term environmental monitoring will be essential to understanding, protecting, and restoring the Gulf Coast ecosystem going forward.

Need for Funding Impactful Restoration: This was the largest man-made environmental disaster in our nation’s history.  In addition to long-term monitoring, the Gulf Coast needs to invest in environmental restoration.  Clean Water Act fines from the BP oil disaster should come back to the Gulf Coast for restoration to ensure that the region and its resources are able to fully recover.

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