Crude Awakening Activists Hold National “Day of Action, Night of Mourning”

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

David Lee or Kim Marks,  Rising Tide North America: 702-527-2742

Dr. Rachel Smolker, BiofuelWatch: 802-482-2848

Crude Awakening Activists Hold National “Day of Action, Night of Mourning”

Nationwide - Activists
in cities and towns around the country express outrage, solidarity and
grief about the catastrophic Gulf Oil spill during a “Day of Action,
Night of Mourning” on Friday, May 14. Coastal ecosystems and species,
and ocean-based economies face the grim reality of unfolding disastrous
impacts as the ruptured deep sea well in the Gulf of Mexico spews oil
at an every-increasing rate. Initiated by Rising Tide North America,
the Call To Action is endorsed by Earth First!, BiofuelWatch, Sierra
Club, Backbone Campaign, Institute for Social Ecology, the Yes Men and
other organizations. Actions are planned in Boston, Rancho Mirage,
Calif.; Berkeley, Calif.; Savanna, Georgia; the Gulf Coast region, and
other areas, as reports pour in. The protest activities across the
country are targeting British Petroleum (BP) and the federal government
with these demands:

  • An immediate ban on all
    offshore drilling
  • A rapid and just transition away from fossil
    fuels
  • All recovery costs paid by BP, Halliburton,
    Transocean and other implicated companies.
  • The federal government must remove any caps on
    liability for oil companies.
  • BP provides full compensation for impacted
    communities and small businesses.
  • BP provides full funding for long-term
    ecosystem restoration for impacted areas.
Estimates
are now that up to 210,000 gallons of oil per day are pouring out from
BP’s “oil volcano” into the ocean. But many believe the real figures
could ultimately be much higher. The spill, getting worse by the day as
attempts to cap the well fail, is threatening to be the worst spill in
memory, and eclipse the Exxon Valdez spill over 20 years ago. It was
revealed in recent Congressional hearings that the well failed a
pressure test that could have predicted the explosion disaster hours
before the explosion, but the company failed to suspend the operation.
 
“This
spill was an accident waiting to happen,” said Kim Marks, an activist
with Rising Tide. “Pursuing only profit with reckless disregard for the
ecosystem and the workers, BP, Halliburton and Transocean have been
racking up violations, operating without sufficient environmental
review, and ignored warning signs of such a disaster, with the result
being one of the most difficult ecological disasters to fix in that
wake. If ever there were a crude wake-up call for a halt to all
offshore drilling, this is it. We need a permanent ban, and we need it
now.”
 
A representative from Public Citizen said BP has
one
of the worst safety records of any oil company operating in America.
Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen said in media reports that “In just the
last few years, BP has paid $485 million in fines and settlements to
the US government for environmental crimes, willful neglect of worker
safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets.”
 
In October
2009, BP paid the largest fine in OSHA history – $87.43 million – for willful negligence that led to
the deaths of 15 workers in a March 2005 refinery explosion in Texas.  And just last month, BP paid $3 million fine to
OSHA for 42 willful
safety violations at one of its refineries in Ohio
.
In March 2006, BPs neglect of one of its major oil pipelines in Prudhoe
Bay, Alaska led to an oil leak that resulted in BP paying $20 million to
settle allegations it violated the clean water act
. BP also was forced to pay $303
million to settle allegations it manipulated the
US propane market
,
was fined $18 million for
market manipulation during the California energy crisis
.
 
Longtime
Earth First! activist Karen Pickett said, “When a company like BP is
earning $6 billion or more in profits every three months, issuing a
fine of $20 million here, $50 million here, or finding of criminal
negligence, as the Dept. of Justice  has done on
two occasions in the last two years, but without serious repercussions
--that is all just the cost of doing business for BP. It’s time for
permanent sanctions against corporate criminal offenders like BP. We
should be denying them access to lucrative leases that our government
sells to these companies.
 
“I
am in a state of shock,” said Rachel Smolker, a climate activist with a
Ph.D. in ecology and zoology. “I spent 20 years studying dolphins – the ocean and perhaps the planet’s most intelligent
and  playful
species. The thought of what this spill will mean for them is hard to
bear. Seven of the 10 species of the sea turtles, mostly threatened and
endangered, live in the Gulf.  They are central
to the Native American “turtle island” creation myth. Having survived
for 150 million years, outliving the dinosaurs, BP may now  
spell their demise. It’s absolutely sickening.” 

Info and images of
actions as they take place on 5-14 are at http://www.actagainstoil.com/ 
  

###

Rising Tide is a grassroots network of groups and individuals who take direct action to confront the roots causes of climate change and promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis. Rising Tide was formed in the Netherlands in 2000 to bring a more radical voice to the COP6 (UN Conference of the Parties) climate talks that attempted (unsuccessfully, largely due to the efforts of the US delegation) to salvage what of substance was left of the Kyoto Protocol. Employing popular education and direct action to address the root causes of climate change with a focus on climate justice, Rising Tide now spans three continents.

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