Looking for help dealing with the Gulf Oil Spill as it affects the mental health of those living in the Gulf Coast region? The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has put together a series of tip sheets on issues surrounding the oil spill, like “Talking to Children and Youth About the Oil Spill Disaster,” “Tops for Coping With the Oil Disaster,” “Tips for Dealing With Your Grief Due to the Oil Spill Disaster” and more. (more…)
This Saturday, November 20, concerned citizens from across the Gulf Coast will convene in Grand Isle, Louisiana, to once again raise the alarm on the on-going oil spill crisis. Despite waning public and political attention, the Gulf of Mexico remains environmentally and economically ravaged by the oil spill. The rally is a forum for information sharing for those who live, work, and play in the Gulf. The event will also raise money to send a local delegation to meet with policy-makers Washington.
Fishermen, advocates, activists and friends of the Gulf are invited to attend and bring copies of independent safety and health test results to share with the public & press. Local politicians and representatives from federal agencies have also been invited.
The House and Senate return to work today after a long recess for the so-called “Lame Duck,” post-election legislative session. They’ll be in Washington this week before heading home for Thanksgiving, then convene again in late November to address a number of remaining agenda items. The focus of the Lame Duck will almost certainly be economic policy (government funding, tax cuts, and unemployment insurance are all priorities) but there is a critical window to act on oil spill response and Gulf Coast restoration measures as well. It’s up to us to push our legislators to remember the oil spill crisis and take action this year for the environmental and economic future of the Gulf Coast.
This Wednesday, the Senate will vote on whether to invoke cloture (ending debating and clearing the way for a vote on the merits) on the Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act (S. 3815), introduced by Senator Reid this summer. In addition to raising the fees paid by oil companies into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, the bill aims to reduce our oil dependence by encouraging increased production and distribution of natural gas-powered and electric vehicles. While this program alone is not the solution to our energy challenges, it is a step in the right direction and may be our only chance to say or do anything on oil issues this year. It is therefore critical that we push the Senate to use this opportunity to reduce our oil dependence and act to ensure a safer future for our fossil fuel industry as we transition to clean energy in the long-term. (more…)
The mental health toll of the BP oil disaster – coupled with the on-going devastation wrought by the ’05 and ’08 hurricanes – is a top concern for public health experts, people of faith, and Gulf Coast advocates nationwide. Join After the Spill on November 18 at 3 pm EST, to hear from experts in the field as they review the latest stories and statistics, and join a conversation about what we all can do to help.
The call will feature: (more…)
Paul Kaufman is the Program Coordinator and Director of Advocacy for GreenFaith and a member of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. He is a former Assistant Regional Director for the Union for Reform Judaism and lives in New Jersey.
This post originally appeared on the RACblog.
The approximately 60 members of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism who went to New Orleans last month wanted to see first-hand the impact of the BP oil disaster on the people, communities, and environment of southern Louisiana. We spoke with scientists, activists, and “just plain folks,” all of whom spoke movingly about the devastation caused by this catastrophe. Rather than recount all that we did, here are a few of my conclusions after an intensive four-day visit to the area:
- There is serious disagreement in the scientific community about the long-term effects of this spill. Some scientists believe “nature will restore itself” quickly. Others stated that the effects could last for decades, citing the Exxon Valdez spill, whose effects are still being felt after 20 years. The predominant message of the scientific community is simply that, “we don’t yet know,” because nothing on this scale has ever hit the Gulf. The immediate impact on the fishing industry won’t be known until next year’s spawning season, and the effects of chemical dispersants used to break up the oil molecules remains a major unknown as well. (more…)
Recent Washington news has been dominated by the election, but the Obama Administration has been working (relatively quietly) to move ahead with their long-term Gulf oil spill response agenda. The National Oil Spill Commission recently released a number of early reports on various aspects of the spill and the government response, including dispersant use and the ups and downs of the Unified Command response. The Commission holds its fifth meeting next week in Washington, D.C., focused on the causes of the well explosion.
In other Administrative news, the Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, established last month by Executive Order, will also meet next week. The Task Force holds its inaugural meeting in Pensacola, FL, where EPA Administrator/Task Force Leader Lisa Jackson will oversee a series of sessions, open to the public, on the goals of the Task Force. (more…)