Sunday, December 05, 2010

Funding for the Gulf of Mexico

Last spring and summer we watched in horror and disbelief as the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank, with the well it left behind spewing oil for the next three months. Eventually the leak was stopped, but not before it left a trail of environmental damage in its wake. According to the most recent wildlife report (pdf), fish and wildlife officials found 8183 dead or oiled birds, 1144 sea turtles, 2 other reptiles, and 109 mammals in the areas affected by the spill. No doubt the oil had further effects on wildlife too small to draw the attention of staff or volunteers.

Now Congress has a chance to do something about it. BP will have to pay substantial fines under the Clean Water Act. A bill before the Senate would dedicate the revenue from those fines to restoration of the Gulf of Mexico and its habitats. Without action now, the revenue will just go into the general treasury and may not help the Gulf Coast's habitats. To that end, please consider contacting your Senators as soon as possible in support of the funding bill. Audubon has made this easy with an automated form:

For more on the funding bill and Gulf Coast restoration, see the introductory post at NBN.