Oil’s a natural substance, right? A little bit can’t hurt you. That seems to be the position of those pushing for a return to pre-BP oil spill levels of oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. And the spill itself: that was so two years ago. Everything’s fine now.
gulf of mexico
It’s Valentine’s Day, and even if you think its an overhyped “holiday” designed to get you spending money on cards, flowers, and candy, you’re probably not going to ignore it – could get lonely otherwise! The organizations that contribute to the Restore the Mississippi River Delta campaign hope you’ll share a little love with the Gulf of Mexico, also: while the BP Oil Spill seems eons ago, February may be the month in which BP settles with the Justice Department on fines related to the spill, and the numbers could top $20 billion. Without specific legislation, though, that money could be swallowed up by the federal budget, with little or none of it going to restore and support the states damaged by the months-long spill.
When the BP oil spill was in full force last year, I was disappointed about the way the spill was being portrayed as a one-off disaster, instead of what it really was: the latest chapter in the degradation of the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, we had to clean up the spill, but we also had to look at the bigger picture of agricultural pollution, dredging wetlands to create canals for the oil and petrochemicals industries, and other actions that endangered coastal and marine ecosystems. These observations were necessary for the environmental health of the Gulf, as well as its continued productivity for sustainable human use.
The glove-covered hands of Dan Howells, deputy campaign director with Greenpeace, are coated with a layer of oil after he dipped them in oil floating on the surface in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill near Grand Isle, Louisiana, June 10, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Like most Americans, I am horrified by the unending catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Even with the latest containment cap in place, oil is likely to hemorrhage from BP’s ruptured well until August or beyond.
As I try to convey in my new video, “The Fix,” I am appalled by what this spill is doing to Gulf fishermen, families, communities and wildlife. But I am also disgusted by what it reveals about the oil industry’s role in American political life.
With their deep pockets, oil companies have purchased loose safety regulations, slack oversight and support from key lawmakers. Last year alone, the industry spent a $168 million on lobbying — $16 million of which came from BP. The blowout on the Deepwater Horizon is a symptom of this undue influence.
It is time for the collusion to stop. As long as it continues, Americans will pay the price in the form of devastated ecosystems and a fossil fuel addiction that benefits oil companies, not ordinary citizens.
With the sunken Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig now potentially leaking 25,000 barrels of oil a day, and a projected clean-up cost of $5 billion, the thought that you may be able to help with this environmental and economic disaster may seem far-fetched. Yet numerous non-profits have mobilized in the face of this emergency, and they need your help. Some of the things you can do to support clean-up efforts:
Volunteer: Many groups are enlisting volunteers to contribute to clean-up efforts. If you’d like to lend a hand directly, you can sign up with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, The Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, and Mobile Baykeeper. Obviously, these are just a few of the organizations looking for volunteers… several Facebook groups, and at least one website, have sprung up to coordinate these efforts.