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Tuesday, 05 April 2011 18:09

Environmentalists Want Concrete Action From Obama On BP Spill Anniversary

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While virtually all of Louisiana (especially those in South Louisiana) all angry at President Obama and his drilling moratoriums (real and defacto), there are other voices out there that appear to have a different view.

One is Peter Lehrner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who wrote in a blog concerning the upcoming anniversary of the BP oil spill, that “Together with a thirteen other environmental leaders, I just sent a letter to President Obama urging him to observe this day by taking concrete action to prevent another catastrophic oil spill. Without a real commitment to solve the problems that caused the blowout, official ceremonies to mark April 20 will become hollow affairs.”

Lehrner also wrote, “President Obama has begun to implement some of these recommendations. I applaud his proposal to increase funding for the Department of Interior’s oversight of offshore drilling, the initial restructuring of the agencies that monitor offshore drilling, and the regulatory changes adopted since the disaster.

But the commission called for reforms that go beyond these steps. It is time for President Obama to commit to undertaking all the recommendations for how to prevent another oil disaster. NRDC views the following steps as particularly critical:

  • Create an independent offshore safety authoritythat is insulated from the pressure to increase oil production and maximize lease sales.
  • Strengthen the role of science and the interagencyconsultation in the Outer Continental Shelf decision-making process. NOAA, the nation’s lead civilian ocean agency, must identify areas that should be excluded from lease sales because of their high ecological importance or sensitivity.
  • Update the EPA’s dispersant testing protocolsand require more comprehensive testing prior to listing or pre-approving dispersant products.
  • Improve oil spill response plans, and verify that the industry can actually deliver on containment and clean-up methodologies.
  • Develop and implement Arctic federal researchto provide a foundation of scientific information on the Arctic ecosystem; right now, we only have a narrow slice of data, focusing on just a few species at only certain times of year. “

Lehrner also adds, “These transportation solutions are critical. We must make offshore drilling safer, and the commission’s recommendations will do that. But we must also reduce the need to drill for oil in every riskier conditions—like the deepwater. The best way for President Obama to mark the anniversary of the BP disaster is to take concrete steps to do both.”

See 11 environmental groups call on White House to strengthen offshore drilling regulations from NOLA.COM


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