State of the Union/State of the Gulf

January 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized |

(originally posted on the RACblog)

(photo courtesy UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg)

Clean energy was a primary focus of Tuesday’s State of the Union, but the President failed to mention the oil spill disaster (Aaron Viles at Gulf Restoration Network does a great job explaining why this is omission was a mistake). Still, it’s been a big week in Washington for Gulf Coast advocates, as the co-chairs of the Oil Spill Commission came to Congress calling for key reforms to the offshore oil industry and protections for the future of the Gulf Coast.

Former Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Commissioner Bill Reilly forcefully defended the Commission’s report, released earlier this month, to key House and Senate committees. Their report slams both industry and government for the failures that enabled the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but also asserts that, with reforms, fossil fuel production can continue safely.

Graham and Reilly summarized their testimony in an op-ed, “Due diligence for offshore drilling,” recommending creation of an independent agency to oversee offshore drilling safety, separating safety and oversight from the royalties collection process that has deeply corrupted this agency in the past; increasing the liability cap on oil companies so taxpayers are never on the hook for a driller’s mistakes; dedicated funding for Gulf Coast restoration; and more attention and funding for oil spill response planning. (more…)

Oil Spill Report Demands Action

January 11th, 2011 | Uncategorized |

(Originally posted on the RAC blog)

Today, nearly nine months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Presidentially-appointed National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released a comprehensive analysis on the causes and lessons learned from the BP oil disaster. The Commission report – over 300 pages based on months of investigation into an event that killed 11 men and set off the worst environmental justice disaster of our time – tells a powerful tale of an under-regulated industry run amok, the catastrophic consequences of a failed safety and regulatory system, and the overwhelming need to learn and act on the lessons of this disaster.

The report encompasses recommendations and insights from a wide variety of voices, and the message is undeniable: the oil industry is simply not equipped to self-regulate to prevent disaster or adequately respond when mistakes happen, and it’s time for Congress and the Administration to act to protect workers, the environment and the livelihood of the Gulf Coast. (more…)

How Lame Will the Congressional Session Be?

November 15th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Click to ask your Senators to prioritize an oil spill response bill!

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…)

Blog Action Day: Oil & Water

October 15th, 2010 | Uncategorized |

As part of Blog Action Day 2010, the RACblog did a series of posts on a variety of water-related issues, including the Gulf oil spill. Here’s a selection from the piece on the Gulf:

It’s been nearly six months since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and began dumping 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout the summer, we watched the oil, and over a million gallons of untested chemical dispersants, gush into the Gulf and despoil this precious ecosystem for months and perhaps years to come. And, although the well was capped in July, oil continues to wash up on the shores of Louisiana (as this recent video shows) and communities across the Gulf Coast continue to unpack the long-term impacts of this environmental and economic disaster.

Read the full post, and learn more about Blog Action Day, on the RACblog.

VIDEO: Faith Leaders Visit the Gulf

October 7th, 2010 | Uncategorized |

As the devastating impacts of the BP Oil Disaster continue to unfold, a group of national religious leaders from different faiths joined together in July to bear witness to the damage caused by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf Coast, and to testify about what they have seen. Convened by the Sierra Club, leaders of different faiths joined together to reflect, restore, and renew.

[Video after the jump] (more…)

Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf

August 12th, 2010 | Uncategorized |

After the Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf is a project of faith communities in the Gulf and across North America committed to long-term Gulf restoration following the BP oil spill disaster.

After the Spill is sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.