Defenders acts while Congress twiddles thumbs

Oiled wildlife in the Gulf as of Oct 14

Today marks the six-month anniversary of the explosion aboard the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that caused the death of 11 workers and initiated the worst oil disaster the U.S. has ever seen.

But despite the death of thousands of animals in the Gulf of Mexico, many of which are endangered or threatened species, and continued impact on coastal communities and natural habitats, Congress has yet to act.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders’ executive vice president, said, “If the explosion of an oil rig that leaves eleven people dead and results in the worst oil spill in our country’s history, devastating Gulf of Mexico communities and wildlife, does not move the Senate to act, what will it take? It’s been six months since the BP oil disaster began and the Senate has done nothing to improve even the most basic safety and response standards.

“The continued impacts of this disaster evident in our coastal waters and along the shoreline prove that current oil spill oversight, response capacity and safety standards are simply not sufficient to protect our environment or our coastal communities. The U.S. Senate must not continue to delay enacting improved safety measures, better spill prevention, an appropriate liability cap for any future accidents and desperately-needed restoration of the Gulf Coast. Unless the Senate passes this legislation, the clock is ticking until the next offshore oil disaster.”

“If the explosion of an oil rig that leaves eleven people dead and results in the worst oil spill in our country’s history, devastating Gulf of Mexico communities and wildlife, does not move the Senate to act, what will it take?”

Defenders isn’t waiting

Defenders marked this six-month anniversary by today filing suit against BP under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the ongoing unlawful harm or killing of endangered and threatened wildlife caused by the massive blowout. This includes at least 27 endangered or threatened animal species that are known to inhabit the Gulf region, including five species of endangered sea turtles, four species of endangered whales, threatened and endangered birds and Florida manatees.

With this lawsuit, we and other conservation groups aim to make sure BP takes action to reduce harm caused to the endangered and threatened wildlife that are part of the web of life in the Gulf of Mexico.

What you can do

Contact your Senators and urge them to pass the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Accountability Act (S. 3663) and help prevent the next offshore oil drilling disaster.

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