BP Oil Disaster Anniversary Marked by Impacts and Inaction

NEW ORLEANS, LA (April 20, 2011) – Today marks one year since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, killing 11 workers, spewing some 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and tarnishing more than 1,000 miles of coastline.

NRDC experts have compiled a year-end analysis of the oil disaster entitled The BP Oil Disaster at One Year: A Straightforward Assessment of What We Know, What We Don’t, and What Questions Need to be Answered.

The report explores the following six aspects of the disaster a year later: Understanding the Science, Assessing Impacts on Marine Mammals, Making the Most of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment, Identifying and Addressing Public Health Concerns, Grasping the Regional Economic Impacts and Rising to Meet the Challenge.

Meanwhile, Congress has yet to pass a single piece of legislation to hold polluters accountable or restore the Gulf. Instead Republican leadership in the House is currently pushing three bills to expand offshore drilling, and make it easier rather than safer to drill. These bills would allow big oil companies to sidestep proper environmental analysis, and rush permits in the Gulf. One bill mandates drilling up and down the Atlantic Coast, off of California, in the Arctic Ocean and Bristol Bay. The House will vote on these bills when they return from recess.

The following is a statement from Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council and member of President Obama’s National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

A year after the worst peacetime oil spill in world history, the BP disaster has left enduring damage, people wronged and a region scarred. “Today Americans have the right to ask: are we any safer than we were last April? At the broadest level, the answer is no. Industry continues to resist reform. Congress is working to expand drilling rather than improve its safety. And our nation is just as dependent on oil as it was a year ago. The best way to memorialize this disaster is by taking the lessons learned from it to heart. That means restoring the Gulf of Mexico to health and ensuring the people of the region, who are bearing the brunt of the harm, are not forgotten. It means strengthening safety regulations for the offshore drilling industry. And it means moving to clean energy sources that cannot spill, run out, or devastate entire ecosystems and economies.”