May 2, 2010
Kristina Johnson, 415.977.5619
Oliver Bernstein, 512.289.8618
Oil Catastrophe Worsens, President Heads to Gulf
Sierra Club Calls for Drilling Moratorium, Aggressive Clean Energy Plan
New Orleans -- As the offshore drilling disaster in the Gulf spreads to nearly 4,000 square miles and President Obama heads to the Gulf Coast, the Sierra Club is calling on the President to ramp up response efforts, to reinstate a federal moratorium on new offshore drilling, and to prevent future disasters through an aggressive plan to wean America from dirty energy.
Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
"Sadly, we are now witnessing one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. We commend the thousands of Americans who are working so hard to respond to the disaster. But we know that despite our best efforts, we will be dealing with the impacts of BP’s drilling rig for decades to come.
"The federal government should continue to use every resource available to respond to this crisis. But we need more.
"We need assurance that this won’t happen again. We need to restore the federal moratorium on drilling off America’s most fragile coasts, immediately. Then we need to launch an aggressive plan to wean us from dirty oil over the next two decades.
"This is a turning point for America. The dirty oil and coal industries have had a stranglehold on our economy, our health, and our environment for too long. Better safety measures and better federal regulations may have prevented this disaster. But better regulations are not a failsafe way to prevent another, bigger oil spill. They are not an answer to the lopsided relationship between the oil industry and regular hardworking Americans.
"BP and other oil companies have been raking in billions of dollars in profits and standing in the way of clean energy initiatives that would create thousands of good, green jobs for Americans. Now we are all left to deal with the consequences of the oil industry’s carelessness.
"The oil industry uses our oceans to ratchet up their profits, and then they leave us to clean up their mess. They leave us to comb the beaches looking for oil slicked birds. They leave us to worry about the small fisheries and coastal businesses that are now completely shut down. They leave us to worry about what their oil and toxic chemicals will do to our drinking water and health. We are tired of the oil industry polluting our air and water and standing in the way of clean energy jobs.
"Enough is enough."
For more information visit www.sierraclub.org/oilspill