Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
It is an enormous relief to learn that the flow of oil that lead to America’s worst environmental disaster has finally been stemmed. We applaud all the men and women who have worked so hard over these difficult three months to cap the well. We hope we can now turn more resources and attention to responding to the devastation that this oil disaster has already caused, and to making sure this sort of preventable tragedy never occurs again.
We need to do everything possible to help the wildlife and communities of the Gulf Coast that have been hit so hard by this disaster. President Obama’s moratorium on deepwater drilling is an important first step in protecting the Gulf Coast from further damage. The fishing and tourist industries need a chance to bounce back without facing the threat of another disaster. And wherever there is offshore drilling, we risk disaster.
The oil industry argues that this was an isolated event. We agree–research confirms that oil catastrophes are strictly isolated to oil industry operations. We have not yet found oil spills at wind farms, nor have we found evidence of gushers erupting in solar plants or marshlands devastated by business owners retrofitting their buildings. The best way to prevent another oil disaster is to shift away from oil and onto clean energy.
If this capping of the oil gusher holds, it is a moment for celebration. We must not, however, ever forget the three months during which BP egregiously mishandled its disaster. It is even more important that we remind ourselves that this problem is much bigger than BP. The entire oil industry has been skirting safety regulations and lobbying against clean energy for years. Over and over again we’ve paid the price.
Now that the leaking oil appears to be controlled, we need to address the problem that led to it. We need President Obama to stand up to the oil industry. We need a plan to move America off of oil and onto clean energy.
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