BP Can't Be Left in Charge of Gulf Coast Crime Scene

Coalition Asks Obama to Take Over Key Parts of Spill Response

05-19-2010 // Miles Grant
Leilani Munter

It’s time for the federal government to directly take over the monitoring and reporting of the BP oil spill’s impacts on marine life, the environment and public health, National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Larry Schweiger said in testimony before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee today. He highlighted BP’s failure to publicly disclose results from its tests of chemical dispersants, as well as BP’s efforts to withhold video showing the true magnitude of the spill.

The National Wildlife Federation joined with 10 conservation organizations in sending a letter to President Obama today urging a more direct federal role in the spill response.

The federal government should immediately take over all environmental monitoring, testing, and public safety protection from BP,” said Larry Schweiger. “Too much information is now in the hands of BP’s many lawyers and too little is being disclosed to the public.

“The statement yesterday from BP CEO Hayward that the environmental damage will be ‘very modest’ lacks common sense and common decency,” said Larry Schweiger. “The Gulf of Mexico is a crime scene and the perpetrator cannot be left in charge of assessing the damage. The government needs to make sure that the right testing is done and that all data is disclosed to the public.”

In his testimony, Larry Schweiger also asked lawmakers to:

  • Enact real energy reforms this year that break America’s addiction to oil.
  • Make a national investment to restore the Mississippi River Delta.
  • Lift oil companies’ $75 million cap on liability and the cap on punitive damages.

“We must hold oil companies and other corporations accountable for doing their fair share to reduce pollution and to create a path that takes us truly beyond petroleum,” said Larry Schweiger. “This is not just about making off-shore oil platforms safer; it is about creating a safer energy platform for America.”

After the spill, Larry Schweiger led a National Wildlife Federation team to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, talking to local wildlife officials and fishing boat captains as he visited frontline communities, wetlands and fishing grounds. The National Wildlife Federation continues to monitor the spill and cleanup efforts in partnership with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, NWF’s state affiliate, and NWF’s Coastal Louisiana office.

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