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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

May 4, 2010

Contact: Kristina Johnson (415) 977-5619
Oliver Bernstein (512) 289-8618

Sierra Club Joins Key Senators, Environmental Leaders to Hold B.P. Accountable for Oil Disaster
Leaders Say Take Future Coastline Drilling Off the Table

On the two week anniversary of the offshore oil drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, key coastal protection champions from the Senate joined leaders from the environmental community today in front of the U.S. Capitol to discuss the impact of the catastrophe on future coastline drilling policy and to recommend courses of action.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

We know thousands of Americans are working hard right now to contain the BP oil disaster, and we pray they will do it quickly and safely. President Obama should continue doing everything possible to respond to help communities and wildlife in the Gulf. BP is responsible for this tragedy, and they should be accountable.

There isn't a limit to the loss of jobs in the Gulf Coast, there isn't a limit to the damage to sea turtles and sea birds, and there isn't a limit to the destruction of coastal communities. There shouldn't be a limit to the amount BP pays to deal with this catastrophe.

BP's recklessness has destroyed vital fishing and tourism industries in the Gulf Coast, just as Wall Street's greed and recklessness knocked down America's economy.

This disaster is a wake up call. We can no longer afford to wait to wean ourselves from dirty oil. There are thousands of drilling rigs off our coasts. How many disasters like this have to happen before we stop our desperate search for oil and finally embrace clean energy?

We don't need to drill our coasts. We already have the technology available to run our cars on electricity that can be generated from clean energy like wind and solar power. You don't hear about disasters like this at wind farms or solar plants.

The fishing industry in Louisiana could be impacted to the tune of $2.5 billion, and Florida's tourism losses are expected to total around $3 billion. BP needs to compensate all of those hardworking people in the fishing and tourism industries who will now be struggling to feed their families. BP needs to pay to restore coastal wetlands and ensure the recovery of any wildlife that do survive this disaster.

BP and other oil companies need to stop standing in the way of America's clean energy economy.

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