7 Years After BP Disaster, LA Gov. Edwards Declares State Emergency, Ocean Conservancy Issues Statement About The Future
BATON ROUGE (AP) — On the eve of the seven-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and BP oil spill, taking the lives of 11 people and severely impacting the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana's coast, saying he hopes to draw national attention to coastal land loss.
The Democratic governor issued the emergency proclamation Wednesday.
His office said the proclamation will be sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress, trying to raise the profile of the state's erosion troubles as it seeks federal assistance to speed up restoration projects.
In a statement, Edwards described the Louisiana coast as "in a state of crisis that demands immediate and urgent action to avert further damage to one of our most vital resources."
The emergency proclamation lasts until May 17.
In reflection of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Kara Lankford, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program, issued the following statement about the future of the Gulf:
“Ocean Conservancy is proud to have taken part in the effort over the last seven years to make the Gulf of Mexico healthier and more vibrant than ever before. We saw the RESTORE Act bring much needed Clean Water Act fines back to the Gulf states, and a global settlement was reached where BP will pay $20.8 billion dollars over 15 years. With funding mechanisms in place we now have the opportunity to fix not only the damage from the oil disaster but also undo decades of environmental problems like water quality impairments. In the past seven years, we have invested in scientific research and solutions to restore the Gulf. As a result, we now know more about our wonderful and diverse marine ecosystem than we did before the oil disaster.
Ocean Conservancy is excited to work with decision-makers to tackle the challenging work of restoring one of the most important ecosystems in the country. An effort of this scale—from Texas to Florida, and from upriver to the deep sea—has never before been attempted.
We believe that our Gulf leaders can pave the way for large-scale restoration efforts around the world. Together, we can be an example for how multiple states and federal agencies can cooperate and build on shared strengths to restore an ecosystem that the nation relies upon for food, recreation and a thriving economy.
It’s been seven years since our Gulf got hit with the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. We’ll always look back at the time with horror and sadness but now, we can also look forward to a Gulf that is restored, healthy and thriving once more. We are encouraging members of the community to send a message to the Open Ocean Trustees, urging them to use the funds for the most pressing needs in the deep sea, such as those in Ocean Conservancy’s report – Restoring the Gulf Beyond the Shore – Part II. ”