Just received this dispatch from Dave Allison, one of our senior campaign directors, who is on the ground in the Gulf.
"Approaching the airport, small fleet of fishing boats is dropping booms to contain the slick of oil churning just outside the port. As we land, Airforce One sits waiting while the president begins a day of demands and negotiation to force BP to make good on their promise to make amends for the environmental and economic devastation that Oceana warned against years ago in the report Toxic Legacy."
President Obama announced today that he plans to suspend Arctic offshore drilling, cancel lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia, suspend activity on 33 exploratory wells and extend the moratorium on deepwater drilling for six months.
Senior pollution campaign director Jackie Savitz had this to say about the announcement:
â€śPresident Obama has now seen first hand the impacts that offshore drilling can have on oceans and coastal economies. The actions taken today are just the first steps. We are relieved that Arctic drilling is off the table this summer. We continue to call for an end to all offshore drilling, on every coast,â€ť said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director.
As evidenced by all the comments and e-mails weâ€™ve been getting the last few weeks, itâ€™s clear that you all want to know how to help respond to the Gulf oil spill. And a big thanks to everyone who has already taken action with us!
Hereâ€™s an update on what you can do, whether you are in the Gulf region or not:
What you can do on the ground in the Gulf:
- Register through OilSpillVolunteers.com to volunteer or join a cleanup organization.
- The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) is accepting volunteers. Register on their website.
- The Mobile Baykeeper is asking for volunteers. Call 251-433-4229.
- The Audubon Society is looking for help. You can report oiled wildlife at 1-866-557-1401. To report areas with oil ashore or to leave contact information to volunteer in the affected areas, call 1-866-448-5816.
- The BP Volunteer Hotline has set up numbers if you need to report injured wildlife or damage related to the spill. You can also request volunteer information at 866-448-5816.
What you can do from anywhere:
- Become an Oceana Oil Activist and find out about volunteer opportunities in your area.
- Sign the petition: Tell President Obama and Congress to stop new offshore drilling.
- Donate today to help us make sure another catastrophe like this doesn't happen again.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the word.
- Reduce your consumption of gasoline by driving less: use public transit, ride your bike and walk.
"I will make it short and to the point," said Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida). "The president's proposal for offshore drilling is dead on arrival.â€ť Senator Nelson was joined by New Jersey Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez.
The Senators also vowed to keep new oil drilling provisions out of any climate change legislation that comes out of the Senate, and Senator Menendez has introduced new legislation to raise the limit on the amount of money oil companies could be forced to pay for economic damages from catastrophic oil spills.
...And more often than people think. Just days after the President offered up more of our coasts to the oil industry, an oil pipeline operated by Chevron Pipe Line Co leaked at least 18,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana.
This is another example of how dangerous exposure to an oil spill can potentially be to coastal wildlife and habitat, in a national wildlife refuge no less. Spills happen at every stage of oil production. Whether it is from drilling, pipelines, tankers, or refineries; a spill can occur at every stage of the oil production process. Then when we burn the oil, it contributes to climate change.
Big Oil would have us believe that spills are a thing of the past thanks to modern technology. Unfortunately, the facts play out otherwise. Oil spills are not rare occurrence. Almost one million gallons of oil enter the oceans of North America every year through extraction activities alone.
Very funny, Mr. President, but tomorrow is April Foolâ€™s, not today. We canâ€™t imagine that youâ€™d go back on your promise to keep the moratorium on offshore drilling.
President Obama announced today that he will open much of the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to offshore drilling. This includes areas that were previously protected and fragile Arctic ecosystems â€“ places where itâ€™s unnecessary and destructive to drill, but it seems that the President must know that.
I say that because I remember the speech Obama gave during the 2008 campaign in Florida. He was attacking Senator McCainâ€™s proposal to expand offshore drilling, and he said, â€śIt would have long-term consequences for our coastlines but no short-term benefits since it would take at least ten years to get any oilâ€¦ It will take a generation to reach full productionâ€¦When Iâ€™m President I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country.â€ť