With BP Settlement Likely, Sierra Club Calls on Obama to Restore the Gulf Coast
Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director, called on President Obama Feb. 6 to take strong action in any settlement of claims under the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act from BP’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to ensure comprehensive restoration and recovery of the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem and communities, and to protect the region from future oil spill disasters. With the public largely shut out of the legal process, Brune weighed in directly in a letter to the president, requesting that specific measures be included in any settlement agreement over the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Sierra Club summarized six main points from their Feb. 6, 2012, letter to President Obama.
- Establish a Natural Resource Damages Fund in an amount assessed by the Natural Resource Trustees for comprehensive, long-term ecosystem restoration and monitoring that satisfies Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) regulations and prioritizes the public interest
- Create a fund of no less than $10 billion to execute the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Early Restoration Strategy with $500 million dedicated to long-term monitoring
- Establish a fund of no less than $20 billion or an amount equivalent to the Clean Water Act penalties assessment for “gross negligence” dedicated to Supplemental Environmental Projects that enhance NRDA restoration, including long-term monitoring and independent scientific studies
- Include a broad re-opener provision that allows the government to re-open the settlement for at least 30 years and requires the responsible parties to reimburse the U.S. for latent, unforeseen damages
- Establish and fund the operation of a Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council to ensure formal public oversight and industry accountability of offshore drilling activities in the region
- Ensure that all activities executed under a settlement comply with Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice.
The full letter is available here.
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