For Immediate Release

Contact           
  • Mike Gravitz, mikeg@environmentamerica.org
  • Jackie Savitz, jsavitz@oceana.org
  • Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, Ssekich@surfrider.org
  •  Kristina Johnson Kristina.Johnson@sierraclub.org

On the Sixth Month Anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Groups Call for Protecting Our Coasts from Drilling and Ending Our Dependence on Oil
[Washington, DC]  Today, four national environmental groups released a joint statement commemorating the sixth month anniversary of the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20th that tragically killed eleven men and led to the worst oil spill U.S. history.  Approximately 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from April 20th until July 15th when the well was temporarily capped. The resulting spill coated more than 600 miles of coastline, hundreds of square miles of marsh, and killed thousands of birds, sea turtles, fish and other marine wildlife. Recent scientific studies have indicated that large amounts of oil still remain in the Gulf, especially in deeper waters.  Restoring the Gulf from the spill may take a decade or more and billions of dollars to complete. 
The six month anniversary of the country’s worst environmental disaster is an important time to reflect on what we have learned from the event. The impact of the oil spill on the people, wildlife, coasts and deepwater of the Gulf should not be forgotten.  Our organizations join together to emphasize a need for a pathway to recovery for the Gulf while protecting our coasts and oceans from new offshore drilling. 
Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate from Environment America said, “There are three primary lessons from the spill. First, no matter how big the oil company or how strong its promises, offshore drilling is still a risky business, especially in deep water. Second, we must protect our sensitive oceans, coasts and beaches from offshore drilling in places the industry is not drilling today. Finally, we must end our dependence on oil or Big Oil will continue to push to drill in sensitive places that should be protected instead.”
Oceana’s senior campaign director Jackie Savitz warns, “If the spill taught us one thing, it is that offshore drilling is not safe, and will continue to pose grave risks to our oceans, beaches and coastal economies, while providing only a finite amount of dirty energy. To protect our oceans, we need to stop offshore drilling, and in its place, build the foundation we need to jump-start the clean energy transition.”
Athan Manuel, Director of Public Lands at the Sierra Club said, “The BP tragedy isn’t over yet. The Gulf Coast is still dealing with job losses in fishing and tourism. We can expect to see damage to the area’s beaches and marine life for decades to come. It would be a giant mistake to ignore the lesson of this disaster. Our oil dependence is just too dangerous. Oil companies like BP have had a stranglehold on America’s economy for too long. Oil executives are standing in the way of clean energy. It’s time to tell them to step aside. We need a moratorium on new offshore drilling. We need to embrace wind, solar, and efficiency technologies that will create good jobs in places like the Gulf Coast. We need to invest in a 21st century transportation system that will help make America a global leader in the clean energy economy.”
Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, Campaign Specialist for the Surfrider Foundation said, “I recently visited the Gulf where I heard locals helplessly say: “The oil is still here, and so are we!”  To make these communities whole again, we must hold BP accountable and ensure local participation in restoration efforts.  In the long term, it’s critical we defend our coastlines from new offshore oil drilling—spills like the Deepwater Horizon are detrimental to both the environment and economy.  It’s time for our nation to wean itself off oil drilling and seek a comprehensive energy plan that is based on sustainability, conservation and renewable energy.” 
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Environment America is a federation of 29 state based organizations working together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www. environmentamerica.org
Oceana is the world’s largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation.  www.oceana.org
Sierra Club is America’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. www.sierraclub.org
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, go to www.surfrider.org