Sustainability & Climate Change Issue Update: A slow and slippery recovery

So where were we when I updated you last? Ah right, the Gulf Oil Spill.  Well you might think that with the well capped, the effects of the spill are being studied, victims are getting paid, and policy is being adjusted to avoid a similar catastrophe. Well… sort of.

  • The Government did issue a report on August 4 that said 75% of the oil had been cleaned up, but since then that figure has come under fire. A University of Georgia report, authored by five marine scientists found that on the contrary, 80% of the oil from the Gulf Spill is lingering and posing a threat to the ecosystem.
  • So, as you can imagine, many scientists are itching to study the gulf, get the scoop and make recommendations for its long term recovery. But federal funds for such studies are depleted for the current fiscal year and BP funding is indefinitely delayed due to political and legal wrangling. So some scientists are using their own personal credit cards to fund their work. Meanwhile, though BP has been seen digging in the sand to observe what-lies-beneath, reporters and citizens are being prevented from investigating on their own. Check out this VIDEO of a CNN reporter being stopped from digging six inches into the sand.
  • There’s no agreement yet on how much oil was spilled. One study concluded that 4.4 million barrels poured into the Gulf, but the LA Times reports that it was actually 205.8 million barrels spilled!
  • How’s this for a corporate grudge match… BP is suing Halliburton! (Remember them from the Iraq War?) Last month an internal BP report concluded that one of the reasons for the April rig explosion was that Halliburton previously did a “bad cement job” on the rig. Despite that alleged screw up, BP went on to choose Halliburton as the contractor again for the job of plugging the spill with cement.
  • So, what is being done to make sure an environmental catastrophe of this caliber doesn’t happen again? Well, it’s up to President Obama’s Oil Spill Commission to decide what’s next. This month Obama lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling which has been in effect since the spill in April. Likely in anticipation of this move, on September 30, the Obama administration imposed new rules to make offshore drilling safer. At that time, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated he would only lift the moratorium when he was comfortable they had reduced the risks.
  • On Election Day (November 2) Californians will be voting on Proposition 23. Funded by Texas Oil Giants, if Prop 23 is passed it would essentially repeal California’s recent climate change legislation, one of the nation’s most stringent clean energy laws. Polls of Californians show an even amount of support and opposition for the proposition.

What can you do? Get informed, get involved, and get ready to VOTE on Nov 2! NRDC is summarizing the top races where climate change is an issue. And be sure to sign up with HeadCount to get a call from your favorite musician before Election Day to remind you to get out there and have your voice heard!