photo: US Coast Guard/Creative Commons
President Obama, of course, campaigned on a promise to "end the tyranny of oil." The nation needs to hold him to this promise, and one of the most important reasons why is what happened to the Gulf Coast when the Deepwater Horizon exploded. The event claimed the lives of eleven people and just nine days later oil began to hit the wetlands of coastal Louisiana. It's estimated that 250 million gallons spilled into the sea, and the incredible NGO Waterkeepers has been fighting for justice ever since that fateful day in April 2010.
Waterkeeps today released a new report, "State of The Gulf," which explores the condition of the Gulf Coast now. The results, as you might have expected, are not good.
The report finds that:
The oil is not gone, and long-term impacts are still unknown. If past oil spills are used as a barometer we can fully expect the Gulf Coast to suffer continued environmental degradation for decades. Leading scientific studies are showing that three fourths of the oil is still lingering on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, creat- ing an unprecedented and unknown new environmental reality for the Gulf Coast. Oil is also still along the coastal areas in the form of tarballs, strings, and mats as well as in subsurface sandy beach areas. Our governmental and community leaders must work in concert to find long-term, sustainable solutions for recovery and restoration.
Of course the media has moved on, but the fight to restore the Gulf continues. Waterkeepers recommends a series of action to help clean up the mess and to prevent any future spills, including:
Long-term environmental monitoring: Waterkeepers sampled over 100 aquatic organisms and found petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in all of them. Testing must continue to measure the long-term effects of the oil spill.
Dedicate clean water act penalties to the Gulf Coast for environmental restoration: Waterkeepers is calling upon the Gulf's congressional delegation to keep the Gulf's voices loud in Washington, DC and to keep the money flowing until the area is fully restored.
Citizens' participation must be placed at the highest priority for appropriate restoration: After Deepwater, BP and the government has the loudest voices, drowning out, in some cases, the people of the Gulf. Citizen voices must be heard if the area is to be made whole again.
More on the Deepwater Horizon:
Transocean Gives Execs Multi-Million Dollar Bonuses In The Same Year It Caused Biggest Oil Spill in US
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: New Study Gives More Accurate Picture of the Disaster