Tag Archives: Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Put Your Hands Across the Sand!

Guest post by Intern Lena Lane!

On April 20th, 2010 an explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig radically changed the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. It also changed the lives of all those along the coast who saw their shrimp and oyster catch disappear, the wetlands die, and the thick slick of oil causing sickness in their towns.

A mile underwater, around 185 million of gallons of oil began pouring out of the damaged rig, uncovered for 86 days. This disaster killed 11 workers.  And, according to the National Wildlife Federation, more than 8,000 birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals were found injured or dead in the six-month period after the spill.  Today, there are still concerns about the long-term effects of the sometimes mile-long plumes of oil still deep in the ocean.

Although it has been said that the Gulf of Mexico is recovering the truth is a huge dead zone has formed near the mouth of the Mississippi and the wetlands on the Louisiana coast rapidly shrunk in size by around 2,000 square miles. Health concerns have also arisen from the use of dispersants- chemicals that break up the oil so that it would sink to the bottom of the ocean. High levels of ethylbenzene, a byproduct of using dispersants, have been found in the blood of those near the spill. In fact, a three year-old boy who visited the Gulf Coast had at least three times the normal level of ethylbenzene in his blood, an organic hydrocarbon toxic in large quantities. Other components of the crude oil and dispersants such as benzene and Xylene were found in the blood of those close to the spill. These components are known to be cancer-causing agents. However, most of their long-term effects on human health are still unknown.

Although the BP oil spill has largely disappeared from the media, this tragedy set off a movement that continues to unite people regardless of economic status, ethnicity, and political affiliation. This movement is called Hands Across the Sand.

Individuals in 42 nations across the world will join hands on June 25th this year to take part in a peaceful demonstration supporting the efforts of those who are still cleaning up the BP oil spill as well as condemning the dangerous oil extraction process that caused it. The event is also a means of showing support for a cleaner future and greener energy.

Register here!

To be a part of this event in Austin, arrive at the Pfluger Bridge on South Lamar Boulevard at 11:30am.  

To take part in the Corpus Christi event go to Mcgee Beach on Shoreline Dr. between the Holiday Inn- Emerald Beach and the Seawall.

If you are near South Padre Island please meet at Beach Access No.21. For more information please visit http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/.

Come out and show your support!

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Future for the Gulf is Healthy Transportation

Texans Hold ‘Second Line’ New Orleans Style Funeral for the Gulf on One-Year Memorial of BP Oil Disaster

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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