NWF Responds to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
Tragic oil spill off the Louisiana coast is a stark reminder that oil and gas exploration and drilling bring with them inherent environmental and human risks
Emily Guidry Schatzel
National Wildlife Federation's coastal Louisiana campaign director Karla Raettig issued the following statement in response to last week's oil-rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico:
"Last week's tragic oil spill off the Louisiana coast is a stark reminder that oil and gas exploration and drilling bring with them inherent environmental and human risks. Our hearts go out to the families of those workers still missing.
"A spill of this magnitude inevitably represents a serious threat to marine life in the vicinity and to the coastal areas where the oil may eventually wash up. We continue to monitor the spill and will work with state and federal agencies to help protect our coastal ecosystem from harm's way.
"But the threatened Louisiana coast is already in crisis, having lost some 2,300 square miles of coastal wetlands since the 1930s due to misguided federal management of the Mississippi River and its Delta.
"All Americans have a stake in the protection and restoration of Louisiana's coastline, whether it is from catastrophic oil spills or from the steady erosion of a fragile coastal ecosystem. This area supports some of the most productive fisheries in the world, provides habitat for millions of migratory birds and many endangered or threatened wildlife species, and is home to 2 million people, many of whom are still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"As industry and agency officials pursue aggressive containment and clean-up of the spill and monitor the leak, we urge our national leaders to make the investments needed to restore and strengthen this vital ecosystem, which supplies so much of our nation's seafood and sustains our common wildlife heritage. This tragedy highlights the need for our nation to decrease its dependence on oil and move toward cleaner and safer alternatives that can strengthen our energy security, create millions of new jobs and protect our environment."