Audubon President Comments on Report by the National Commission on Gulf Oil Disaster & Recommendations

We must heed the clear warning laid out by the courageous members of this commission, and call for a ‘timeout’ for drilling in America’s Arctic Ocean.

De-Oiling a Pelican
Published: Jan 11, 2011
New York NY - 
Statement by David Yarnold, Audubon President, issued upon release of the final report:

"The report uses two words the drillers didn't want to hear: "systemic failure." Make no mistake: the report says drillers are unprepared for disasters like this. Even after killing 11 and triggering the worst environmental disaster in a generation, industry spokespeople want to distract us from the truth. They claim this was an isolated instance caused by rogue companies. That's an insult to the families who suffered and to anyone who wants to see reasonable safeguards.

"The report is clear; the Interior Department is outgunned by the drillers and needs the people and the dollars to police the industry.

"This is a rare instance where something good can arise from tragedy. We can use BP's fines to restore a way of life to the region that has suffered the most. That would be a solid first step toward environmental restoration along the Gulf Coast region. We know that the natural buffers, the wetlands and the forests can regrow. It's just a question of political will and money and the Commission says we should bring both to bear.

"We strongly agree that a large majority of Clean Water Act penalties should be directed, as soon as possible, to environmental restoration in the Gulf Coast region. This summer, Gulf communities suffered grim economic and environmental consequences as oil washed onto their beaches, contaminated their fisheries, and seeped into their wetlands. The report's recommendation to fund coastal restoration in the Gulf is a critical first step toward rebuilding an ecosystem that has been shattered by an unfettered energy industry. Audubon also joins the commission in calling for scientific studies and long-term monitoring efforts so desperately needed to understand and mitigate the spill's effects.

"Audubon urges the White House, Congress, and the oil and gas industry to fund and enact swift and comprehensive reforms. A system so riddled with complacency and incompetence must not be permitted to endanger more human lives and precious natural resources, in the Gulf and elsewhere.

"Even now, the federal Bureau of Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement are considering Shell Oil's proposal to drill in the Beaufort Sea next summer, despite the lack of a credible oil spill response plan - risking a disaster that could eclipse what was seen in the Gulf of Mexico. We must heed the clear warning laid out by the courageous members of this commission, and call for a 'timeout' for drilling in America's Arctic Ocean.

"Audubon thanks Co-Chairs of the Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Senator Bob Graham and William Reilly, as well as the other distinguished Commissioners for their dedication in identifying the causes of this disaster as well as charting a course for improved rules and regulations regarding off shore drilling. They have provided a clear blueprint for the reforms and restoration support essential to ensure the future health and productivity of the Gulf coast's communities, wildlife and ecosystem. Now it is up to Congress and the Administration to act."

Oil Spill Commission's final report http://bit.ly/b2ntsV

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The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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