Restoring the Gulf (not) in the State of the Union
Though the President spoke to the need for our country to return to competitiveness through clean energy innovation, he missed a critical opportunity to address the ongoing fossil fuel-induced tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly one year after the Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 men and set off the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history, the environmental and economic consequences for communities across the Gulf Coast remain – and the federal government’s commitment must remain as well. In his Oval Office address last summer, President Obama promised to stay with the people of the Gulf as long as necessary to restore and renew this precious but devastated environmental and economic system, and we had hoped to hear a reiteration of this commitment tonight.
Last week’s Oil Spill Commission Report demands immediate action from Congress and the Administration to increase environmental and human safety in our energy industry and restore our nation’s faith in our ability to meet our energy needs, even as we continue to work toward the ultimate goal of a safe, clean energy future. The non-partisan panel of experts on the Commission recommended a number of measures to strengthen safety and oversight in an industry with a pattern of destructive behavior, and we hope the Administration will act on these recommendations. The RAC has continued to lead interfaith Gulf restoration efforts through our After the Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf campaign, and we will continue to hold the Administration accountable for its commitments made to the people and environment of our nation’s Gulf Coast. As people of faith called to protect our environment and our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us, we urge our government to enact these reforms to increase environmental and human health and safety – for the Gulf Coast and our entire nation.