Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coalition Testimony to NOAA is a Manifesto for Gulf Restoration

"The Deepwater Horizon disaster, which began with the explosion of the Macondo oil well on April 20, 2010, and resulted in the release of unprecedented volumes of crude oil, hydrocarbon gases, and chemical dispersants into the Gulf environment, has had dramatic impacts on natural resources and ecosystem services in and along the Gulf of Mexico. More than a year after it began, the disaster is far from over and Gulf Coast communities continue to suffer from adverse health impacts, threats to wildlife and the coastal and marine environment, and a damaged economy. Indeed, it is impossible even now to identify or to anticipate all of the short‐ and long‐term effects of the disaster, but unidentified impacts are no less real. Public health and environmental injuries that are not yet manifest may develop down the road.

"Given the magnitude and extraordinary nature of the disaster, the undersigned environmental and community‐based organizations call on NOAA and all of the Trustees involved in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (“NRDA”) to commit to basic principles and to take concrete steps to increase transparency and expand public engagement in the NRDA process; to hold BP and the other Responsible Parties (“RPs”) fully accountable for longterm injuries that are not yet known; to establish long‐term research and monitoring; to ensure that restoration efforts are based on science; and to take comprehensive and adaptive restoration actions that foster sustainability and are equitably distributed. These principles are critical to any effort to identify, select, and implement restoration projects to compensate Gulf Coast communities and the environment for the profound known and latent damage caused by the disaster."


THE ALABAMA COASTAL HERITAGE TRUST · ALABAMA RIVERS ALLIANCE · 
ATCHAFALAYA BASINKEEPER · BAYOU INTERFAITH SHARED COMMUNITY ORGANIZING · EARTHJUSTICE · EMERALD COASTKEEPER, INC. · GLOBAL GREEN · GUARDIANS OF THE GULF · GULF CHANGE · GULF ISLANDS CONSERVANCY, INC. · GULF RESTORATION NETWORK · GULF SAVER SOLUTIONS, RESTORE THE EARTH FOUNDATION, INC. · MOBILE BAYKEEPER · NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL · ON WINGS OF CARE, INC. · OXFAM AMERICA · SIERRA CLUB · THE SOLUTION TO POLLUTION PROJECT · SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER · SOUTH WALTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL, INC.


That statement serves as the opening of formal comments submitted yesterday (May 18, 2011) by the Sierra Club and Earthjustice on behalf of 20 local and national environmental and community groups to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in response to its notice of intent to begin scoping and draft a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Gulf of Mexico restoration.  It brilliantly captures the common sentiments of all Gulf advocates.
Here's a link to the full comments we submitted to NOAA: 


Frank Jackalone
Senior Organizing Manager
Sierra Club