Two Years Into Oil Disaster, Promise to Restore Gulf Remains Unfulfilled

Two years after the oil spill, the effects of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast are still apparent

04-19-2012 // Jaclyn McDougal
Bottlenose Dolphin

Friday marks two years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers. The rig sank and the resulting gusher would eventually release nearly 206 million gallons of oil. The disaster dealt a new setback to a Gulf ecosystem already struggling with years of wetlands degradation and the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

"Two years later, the oil remains, the promises are forgotten, and Congress still hasn’t done its job. Now that both the House and Senate have voted on the RESTORE Act, it is time to get a strong bill, without poison pills, to the President’s desk. The only fair and right solution is for fines from the oil disaster to be reinvested in the Gulf region to help the people and communities hurt by the disaster. A healthy Gulf ecosystem will lead to economic recovery."

David-Muth, state director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Mississippi River Delta Program, said today:

It is essential for Congress to pass a strong RESTORE Act to reinvest penalties and fines to restoring the Gulf. Without legislation to direct fines and penalties from the oil disaster to restoring the Gulf Coast’s wetlands and coastal ecosystems and a comprehensive Gulf Coast restoration program, the outlook for Gulf recovery will remain uncertain.

Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

If we’re going to give a decent future to the Gulf Coast’s wildlife, wetlands, commercial fisheries and the very way of life of local residents, the only answer is to restore the coastal wetlands and ecosystems that are the Gulf’s lifeblood. Little action has been taken to address the long-term species threats and wetlands habitat degradation exacerbated by the oil disaster and we don’t yet have all the data we need to understand the full impact of the oil spill. Much more needs to be done to ensure a complete recovery.

NWF continues to monitor the situation, detailed in a new report by Dr. Doug Inkley, A Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Two Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster (pdf) which explains what we know about impacts on key species and habitats, what to watch out for in the months and years ahead, and how we can help aid recovery. Dr. Inkley hosted a virtual tour of video and photos that showed remaining oil. Watch/listen here, with moving visuals starting at 20:33, including comments from Dr. George Crozier (retired Dauphin Island Sea Lab Director), David Muth (NWF’s Coastal La. State Director) and Captain Ryan Lambert (Gulf hunting/fishing guide).

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