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


July 13, 2010

Orli Cotel (415) 977-5627

Kristina Johnson (415) 977-5619 

Professional Athletes Tour Gulf Coast to See Impacts of BP Oil Disaster

New Orleans - As the devastating impacts of the BP Oil Disaster continue to unfold, a group of athletes from different sports ranging from the NFL to NHL to Olympic medalists joined together today to tour the damage, voice their support for Gulf Coast communities, and share with their fans what they have seen. They highlighted the connection between sports, health, and a clean environment, and discussed why we need to fully clean up the coast and move towards clean energy to ensure that a disaster like this never happens again.

Athletes took a boat tour of the affected region, where they left from Myrtle Grove Marina and went to Barataria Bay, Cat Island, and Bay Jimmy. The athletes held a press conference today where they shared their experiences with the media.

To listen to a recording of the tele-press conference, call 1-800-642-1687, conference ID # 87532145

Statements from some of the professional athletes who attended this trip:

Mike Richter, NHL - New York Rangers Goalie & Winter Olympics (x3):
"Seeing this disaster firsthand, I was struck by the vastness of the problem. We have to get off of fossil fuels, oil in particular, now. As athletes we understand the connection between the environment and health. We want everyone to understand these issues aren’t just about the environment, they’re about people, health, economy, and quality of life. This is not a Gulf Coast problem, it’s everyone’s concern. It’s not a someday issue, it’s something we have to deal with now."

Mike Alstott , NFL - Fullback from Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
"This whole experience has been very enlightening. The efforts that are going on are a real eye-opener. The sad part is that what we saw today is only the tip of the iceberg. I’m frightened to think of the long-term effects that we’ll be facing in the years to come, and as a Gulf Coast resident in Florida, I hope that we will never be faced with anything like this again."
Leilani Munter, ARCA/NASCAR:
"In the wake of this disaster my greatest hope is that we will move towards clean renewable energy and my greatest fear is that we won't. America needs to check into rehab and end our addiction to oil."

Andrew Ference, NHL, Boston Bruins:
"Seeing the grass covered in oil and the birds covered in oil, smelling the oil in the air, was like experiencing a symptom of a greater worldwide problem. The fact is, our generation has all the technology and all the scientific knowledge to solve these problems. Now we just need the guts and the willpower to actually do it."

Krista Bradford Ference, X game snowboarder:
"It’s time to wake up and smell the oil. We have an opportunity through this immense disaster to create new renewable energy jobs and to educate people of the dangers of offshore oil drilling."

Ovie Mughelli , NFL Fullback for the Atlanta Falcons:
"Seeing this disaster should serve as the billboard for discovering new forms of renewable energy."

Stacey Cook, U.S. Alpine Ski Team (2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics):
"Coming from the California mountains, I felt separated from this disaster geographically and had no idea what to expect. I didn’t realize the impact it has had on the community, from the oil rig in the Gulf all the way to the families that live here. We heard from community members that this spill is causing depression and problems with family relationships due to stress. It’s hard to comprehend how vast the spill is beyond seeing oil in the water.  We can and need to make changes that will make a difference now and in the future."

Loree Smith, Track & field (2008 Summer Olympics):
"Seeing the oil this far inland, knowing that it’s been pumping for over 80 days, it’s amazing the magnitude of what it’s touching. When are we going to stop adapting to pollution and instead look at a solution? The solution is change towards more sustainable environmental energy sources."

Gary Morgan, Track & field (1988 Olympics and 17 national titles):
"I was surprised to see how much open water we have and how much the wetlands have been destroyed. I come from Michigan where we are on the water and have many of the same problems. Wetlands clean the water, and what oil companies have done by dredging to put in oil pipelines has really seemed to accelerate the wetland loss. The wetlands protect New Orleans from storms. We need to protect these areas."
Chanda Rubin, Tennis (former #6 in the world):
"When I first decided to come and tour the Gulf I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing the effects firsthand was indescribable. Really seeing the wildlife made it hit home. The oil-covered marshes were the most saddening part --seeing the oil stuck to the grass and the leaves leaning under the weight of the oil--you don’t get that from pictures."

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