Environment Texas announced today a door-to-door citizen organizing drive to push President Obama to hold BP fully accountable for the Gulf oil spill, improve safety at existing rigs in the Gulf and prevent plans to allow new offshore drilling. The BP oil spill is now the largest oil spill in U.S. history leaving eleven workers killed, oil in our wetlands, tourism and fishing economies in a shambles, and sea turtles and sea birds coated in oil. There is also the potential for wide scale dead zones throughout the affected areas.
“We are working to make sure oil companies, and not taxpayers, pay to clean up oil spills and compensate fishermen,” said Ross Barnard, Campaign Coordinator for Environment Texas.
After 35 days of the largest oil spill in U.S. history, it appears that BP is finally bringing some control over the river of oil gushing into the Gulf. U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt announced earlier today that the disaster has already released between 17 and 39 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf, a substantial revision upward in the official size of the spill and one and one half to almost four times the size of the Exxon-Valdez spill. In a press conference this afternoon President Obama cancelled a pending lease sale off Virginia near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, a suspension of drilling planned for the Arctic this summer, and continued the temporary suspension of deepwater drilling in the Gulf. Environment Texas reiterated its call for a permanent ban on drilling in new areas and thanked the President for canceling the lease sale off Virginia and delaying development of the Arctic leases.
Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger said, "In light of what is now the largest oil spill in U.S. history, we thank President Obama for canceling the Virginia lease sale and delaying drilling in the Arctic but he must do more to ensure this doesn’t happen again. If nothing else, the BP oil spill highlights the fact that if you drill, you will spill and the President needs to permanently protect the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of our treasured coastlines by banning drilling in new places”
AUSTIN –Environment Texas called on Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson to either provide adequate state resources to protect the Christmas Mountains of west Texas or finally allow for the transfer of the property to Big Bend National Park.
Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson and Henry Cuellar of the Texas Congressional delegation voted for the environment 100% of the time in the past year and a half, according to the annual Congressional Scorecard on major environmental issues released today by Environment Texas. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and Representatives Randy Neugebauer and Pete Olson took the anti-environment position on every vote that Environment Texas tracked, earning them the appellation “natural disasters”.
“Representatives Johnson and Cuellar have consistently voted to put the environment ahead of special interests. In the past year and a half they successfully fought to invest an unprecedented $80 billion in clean energy and to increase funding for our national parks,” said Metzger. “These scorecards are an important tool to educate the public about the voting records of their elected officials and to honor public officials like this that have a record of putting the environment first.”
The beaches, parks and marshes of the Texas Gulf Coast are home to remarkable underwater ecosystems and diverse wildlife. All of these would be threatened by more offshore oil drilling, which is currently under debate in Washington D.C. According to Oceans Under the Gun, a new report written by Environment America and the Sierra Club, our beaches and oceans support a vibrant coastal tourism and fishing economy that generates $11 billion per year in Texas.
“Our oceans are truly ‘under the gun’, threatened by Big Oil and their allies in Congress who want to expand offshore drilling,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. “Our beaches and Gulf enable coastal businesses and jobs from tourism, commercial fishing and recreational fishing,” Metzger continued.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.