Aerial view of oil being burned on, May 19, 2010. Favorable weather conditions allowed burns to total more than nine hours. The burns are part of an effort to reduce the amount of oil in the water and are part of the joint federal, state and BP effort to aid in preventing the spread of oil following the April 20 explosion on the mobile offshore drilling unit, Deepwater Horizon. Photo: US Coast Guard via flickr.
A month after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent ecological destruction, despite efforts by BP to slow the flow of oil (and information about just how much is gushing into the Gulf), things don't really seem to be improving that much. And again the call has been raised to stop more offshore oil drilling. A coalition of 14 environmental groups has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to establish a permanent drilling moratorium on areas which don't already have rigs on them. The letter reads:
In response to the BP drilling disaster, we specifically urge you to establish a presidential drilling moratorium which would permanently restore coastal protections for areas currently not leased for off shore oil and gas drilling, and cancel exploratory drilling permits for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Furthermore, we urge you to use the full force of your office to push for a comprehensive bill that cuts oil consumption, curbs global warming pollution and shifts us towards clean energy.
Additionally, the groups call for a "top to bottom review of worker safety, blow-out avoidance technology, and oil spill clean up plans for operations in the Outer Continental Shelf."
Backing the call for a moratorium are: Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Clean Ocean Action, Conservation Law Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.
In case you need a quick update on the scale of the devastation, check out this from Defenders of Wildlife:
Yesterday, according to satellite photos, almost 16,000 square miles of the Gulf were covered in oil slick or sheen; more than 46,000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico, an area the size of Pennsylvania, are now closed to all fishing; and surface oil is headed for the coast of Florida and the Florida Keys on the powerful Loop Current. Louisiana's Governor reported yesterday that a blanket of heavy oil had coated 35 miles of marsh at the entrance to the Mississippi River. Oil has a devastating impact on marshes and other kinds of wetlands, killing plants and leading to more coastal erosion.
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More on the BP Oil Spill:
Must See Aerial Footage of BP Oil Spill Shows 'The Gulf Bleeding'
5 Reasons You Won't See the Worst of the Gulf Oil Spill
EPA Gives BP 24 Hours to Stop Dumping Toxic Chemicals on Gulf Spill