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10/01/2010

Gulf Coast Residents Ask for Gulf Restoration During DC Visit

Last week, the Sierra Club brought a delegation of Gulf Coast fishermen, shrimpers, local activists, and environmental experts impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to Washington DC. The group met with members of Congress, leaders from the National Oil Spill Commission, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement director Micahel Bromwich, and represenatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with a clear message that the BP disaster is not over. A "Voices from the Gulf" hill briefing also addressed the continuing economic and environmental damage to the Gulf Coast from the BP spill.

Although the BP well may be capped, the Gulf Coast and its residents are still recovering from the disaster, with lob losses in fishing and tourism, and massive fish kills as oil finds its way onto our shores and ocean bottoms. The Gulf delegation highlighted that the economic, environmental, and social impacts from the spill will be felt for years to come. Chirs Bryant, a third generation Alabama fisherman, also expressed concern about the safety of the seafood industry as fishing waters start to re-open for the first time following the spill. The industry faces challenges ahead to not only restore fishing stock, but to also restore public perception about the safety of Gulf seafood.

Navy Secretary Mabus did release a Gulf Coast Recovery Plan this week, focusing on the environment, the economy, and health and human services of the Gulf region following the spill. The plan recognizes the need for a long-term fund dedicated to Gulf Coast recovery and calls for the creation of a Gulf Coast Recovery Council. To read the full report click here.

To see Sierra Club's press release about the Gulf Coast Recovery Plan, click here.

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