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Six Months After BP Oil Disaster, Congress Has Yet to Act

Statement of Allison Fisher, Public Citizen Energy Organizer

WASHINGTON - Six months after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the
Gulf of Mexico – which set off the worst oil spill in the history of the
United States – Congress has yet to pass a legislative response to the
BP oil disaster.

Approximately 200 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of
Mexico between April 20 and July 15, when the well was temporarily
capped. The resulting spill coated more than 600 miles of coastline and
hundreds of square miles of marsh, and killed thousands of birds and sea
turtles. But the disaster is not over. Gulf communities continue to
suffer, and residents are calling on Congress to take action.

While the Obama administration has released a new plan that would
invest billions of dollars of BP fines into the region’s recovery, many
of the key components of this plan, including the creation of a Gulf
Coast Recovery Council and a Gulf Coast Recovery Fund paid for by
significant amounts of BP’s Clean Water Act fines, require action on the
part of Congress. 

Moreover, legislation is needed to address core causes of the
accident and the inadequate response to it – issues that apply to the
oil industry as a whole. Legislation under consideration would add new
protections for people who blow the whistle on safety violations, new
safety requirements for blowout preventers and rules that stop companies
with extremely poor safety records from obtaining new drilling leases.
Federal action must address the immediate and long-term impacts of the
BP disaster and address the impunity in which the oil industry has
violated and circumvented safety and environmental regulations.

Public Citizen supports the fishermen, community leaders,
environmental leaders and Gulf coast citizens whose lives continue to be
affected by the BP oil disaster and who gather today to rally in New
Orleans, Biloxi, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., to remind Congress that the
crisis is not over and offshore drilling reform is still a top priority
for the Gulf coast.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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