20 April 2011


Irony runs deep on this, the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico -- proudly brought to you by BP, TransOcean, and Halliburton, and enabled by the U.S. Minerals Management Service -- the irony being that in two days we celebrate Earth Day, which started in 1970. Doesn't seem like we've come very far, does it?

Environmental groups are not letting the day pass without comment. Greenpeace notes that the BP drilling rig explosion "cost eleven people their lives and eventually released nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the marine ecosystem. The accident was a horrible example of the risks that oil companies like BP are willing to take with our national treasures just to make a profit, and they do it with the backing of our government .... Our lack of a comprehensive national ocean policy failed us a year ago. That can change. Right now the Obama administration is in the process of developing a new National Ocean Policy. They're testing the waters to see how engaged the voting public is on this issue by allowing for public comments up until April 27." You can join Greenpeace in calling for an end to all new drilling and the establishment of marine reserves, by going to the website and clicking on the "take action" tab to sign the petition.

Similarly, CREDO Action announces that "Today, economic and enviromental devastation remain. Thousands of Gulf Coast residents cope with massive health problems from oil and toxic dispersants. BP, on the other hand, just scored a nearly $10 billion tax credit, by writing off its "losses" incurred from the tragedy. $10 billion is the entire annual budget of the EPA, whose funding was just slashed .... Americans shouldn't have to endure massive budget cuts because BP took a $10 billion tax deduction for destroying our gulf." Here too, you can sign a protest petition to BP by going to the CREDO website.

Further, The Nature Conservancy has established a Gulf Coast Restoration Fund, to which you can donate here.

It is certainly not news that companies with deep pockets get away with murder, at the expense of people and the environment worldwide. It is also not news that the governmental watchdog agencies assigned to oversee safety and environmental standards, are too often in bed with the very companies they are supposed to regulate. Political rhetoric is cheap. Only massive protests, boycotts, and direct action will convince those in power to amend their ways (and then only with the greatest reluctance and as much delay as they muster). People's lives are at stake. The once-garden planet which we will leave to are grandchildren is at stake. What will you do?

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