AUSTIN – Environment Texas announced today a door-to-door citizen organizing drive to push President Obama to hold BP fully accountable for the Gulf oil spill, improve safety at existing rigs in the Gulf and prevent plans to allow new offshore drilling. The BP oil spill is now the largest oil spill in U.S. history leaving eleven workers killed, oil in our wetlands, tourism and fishing economies in a shambles, and sea turtles and sea birds coated in oil. There is also the potential for wide scale dead zones throughout the affected areas.
“We are working to make sure oil companies, and not taxpayers, pay to clean up oil spills and compensate fishermen,” said Ross Barnard, Campaign Coordinator for Environment Texas.
HR 5214, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, would raise the cap on liability for oil spills from $75 million to at least $10 billion.
In April, the Obama Administration opened up vast tracts of waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off of the southeastern coast for new oil leases in April. Environment Texas staff is working to persuade President Obama to reinstate the permanent moratorium on new drilling.
“The devastating effects of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico reveals the urgent need to reinstate a permanent moratorium on new offshore oil drilling,” Barnard said. “We are going door to door to build support for this and to increase pressure on the Obama Administration.”
In response to the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration has instated a temporary six-month moratorium on the sale of new leases. However, drilling permits on existing rigs in deep waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, continue to be handed out by federal regulators.
“The risks associated with offshore drilling far outweigh any economic benefit associated with it and will only further our dependence on oil,” Barnard said. “We need to heed the warnings from the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and make sure it never happens again.”