Sierra Club and Galveston Baykeeper Release Gulf Future Action Plan and Call for Moving Beyond Oil
(Austin) – The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club and Galveston Baykeeper today held a New Orleans-style jazz funeral for the Gulf where they released the Gulf Future Action Plan, the result of a year-long collaboration of Gulf state communities and they called for moving away from dependency on oil to healthier transportation solutions.
One year ago today, the BP-Horizon explosion and fire caused the loss of 11 workers’ lives and possibly the worst oil spill disaster in world history. The disaster flooded the waters of the Gulf of Mexico with almost 5 million barrels or about 260 million gallons of oil. The oil was estimated to have covered an area of somewhere in the range between 2,500 to 68,000 square miles.
Gulf Future Action Plan “America’s Gulf Coast is still suffering, and we need the support of the nation for a full and fair recovery,” said Galveston Baykeeper Charlotte Wells. While Texas was not as significantly damaged as Louisiana, Mississippi and other Gulf states, Wells showed a map of Texas beaches that were impacted. The Gulf Future Action Plan calls for:
- 80% of Clean Water Act fines to be directed to ecosystem restoration on the Gulf Coast
- Affordable, accessible health care by professionals trained in oil-spill related illnesses
- Full funding for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment
- Implementation of the Oil Spill Commission recommendations including prohibition of the use of dispersants
- Stakeholder participation and Transparency
- Investments in Renewable Energy and local jobs
The Gulf Future Action Plan is available online at http://www.gulffuture.org/
Moving Beyond Oil
Over two years ago, Sierra Club launched its Beyond Oil campaign asserting that drilling for oil in difficult scenarios such as in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, in the sensitive Arctic wilderness, and piping the dirtiest tar sands oil across the continent from Canada are prohibitively dangerous and risky.
“The only way to truly protect our communities and our oceans is to end Big Oil’s stranglehold on our economy and break our addiction to oil. Instead of chasing dirty, dead-end fossil fuels, we should be investing in 21stCentury transportation solutions like smarter, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, electric vehicles and mass transit,” said Eva Hernandez with Sierra Club.
Professor Tad Patzek, Chair of the University of Texas Department of Petroleum and Geosciences Engineering pointed to individuals responsibilities but also said that the world is running out of oil.
“So what are the two main lessons from the Macondo well tragedy?,” said Patzek. “One is that we need to be a lot more careful in how we drill and produce oil and gas reservoirs in the most difficult and inhospitable environment on Earth — the deep ocean. The second lesson is that we have to snap out of our stupor and realize that the time of cheap gasoline and sprawling suburbs accessible only by car is coming to an inevitable end, no matter what anyone says. This second lesson has not been learned yet.”
Gulf Future Action Plan participating groups, Sierra Club and Galveston Baykeeper are looking to local, state, and federal government to lead.
“The time is now for leadership from Congress – the restoration of the Gulf, the health of our economy and the safety of all Americans depends on it,” said Hernandez.
Become a fan of Texas Sierra Club on Facebook and view the photo album from this event — http://www.facebook.com/TexasSierraClub#!/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150168401047920.311091.119581047919
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