Ozzy, Pearl Jam to Obama: Stay focused on Gulf restoration

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500  

November 18, 2010

Dear President Obama,

As you are well aware, the BP deepwater drilling disaster has delivered a severe blow to the marine and coastal environments of the Gulf Coast, as well as the communities which rely upon a healthy Gulf for their economy and way of life. These communities are the originators and guardians of some of our nation’s most unique cultures. As musicians, we are all in debt to this irreplaceable region, and are calling on you to help ensure its survival:

·       The BP disaster is on-going and will have lasting impacts. There are still tens of millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf and much more dispersed oil – and chemical dispersant itself – below the surface. The BP drilling disaster was at least 15 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill, and we know from Alaska that the ripple effects of the disaster will be felt for decades. It will be a long road to restoration, and the Federal government needs to stay focused on the disaster and environmental impacts that are just beginning to play out.

·       The BP disaster has taken a toll on the Gulf Coast, and real impacts will be felt by real people for years. The Gulf’s people and places need lasting and continued support to get back on their feet. Fishing, recreation, seafood and tourism are cornerstones of the Gulf economy. These industries hang in the balance because of the disaster. Thousands of families’ lives have been profoundly affected, with much of the damage having long-term consequences – physically, emotionally, and financially. Resources and support must be accessible to all those affected in order to make Gulf communities whole again.

·       BP’s disaster is only the latest, most visible example of on-going environmental destruction in the Gulf by the oil and gas industry. Louisiana loses a football field worth of wetlands every 45 minutes, and 40 to 60% of that loss is attributed to oil and gas activity, including exploration and dredging pipeline canals. The oil and gas industry must pay its fair share to restore these wetlands, and a large portion of the fines levied against BP should be dedicated to on-going restoration efforts through your Gulf Restoration plan implementation.

·       Let’s not let it happen again. Reforms are urgently needed to prevent more drilling disasters. BP is not a rogue actor when it comes to taking big risks at the expense of the Gulf. Regulatory reforms and policy changes are urgently needed to prevent future drilling disasters and ensure oil-rig safety in the Gulf and elsewhere, and to guarantee rapid cleanup when accidents do occur. Your administration needs to follow through with the overhaul of federal agencies, separating the functions of enforcement and royalty collection. Ultimately, the solution is to transition our nation to a clean energy economy as soon as possible.

·       Locals must have a voice in decisions that will impact their region and their homes. A Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council must be formed to ensure that impacted communities are formally involved in the oversight of future drilling decisions and oil industry actions. As the citizens of Alaska have done in the years following the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, citizens of the Gulf must also become more engaged and take responsibility for keeping the energy industry and government accountable.

President Obama, we appreciate the initiatives you’ve launched to help the Gulf recover, from the demand for a $20 billion trust fund for community damages, to the creation of a Gulf Coast Recovery Plan, headed by Navy Secretary Mabus. Please do all you can to ensure these efforts address the concerns we’ve raised, and help the amazing and irreplaceable cultures of the Gulf region remain vibrant and productive for generations to come.

Sincerely,


Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys
Anders Osborne
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
Big Don
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Blue Party
Bonerama
Bonnie Raitt
Boots Riley (of The Coup)
Boys Noize
Brian Coogan and Mike Dillon
Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcom
Charlie Wooten Project
Clint Maedgen
Corrosion of Conformity
Cyril Neville
Davis Rogan
Dead Confederate
Derrick Freeman (of Kermit Ruffins)
DJ Zkosta
Down
Dr. John
Egg Yolk Jubilee
Fatter Than Albert
Feufollet
Fitz & the Tantrums
Fleur De Tease
Galactic
Garage A Trois
George Porter, Jr. and Runnin' Pardners
Happy Talk Band
Helen Gillet
Honey Island Swamp Band
Indigo Girls
Interparty System
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
Johnny Vidacovich
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights
JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys
Kellindo Parker (of Janelle Monae)
Kristin Diable
Liquidrone
Locos Por Juana
Marc Broussard
March Fourth Marching Band
MC Sweet Tea
Metric
Miracle at St. Anna
Morning Life
My Morning Jacket
MyNameisJohnMichael
New Orleans Bingo! Show
Noisician Coalition
Nu Guise
O’ Brother
OK Go
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne
Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Roadshow
Pearl Jam
Ponderosa
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
REM
Rise Against
River City Extension
Rock City Morgue
Rotary Downs
Show
Smokey’s Farmland Band
Sons of William
Soul Rebels Brass Band
Stanton Moore Trio
Stone Rabbits
Supagroup
Swiss Chriss
Tab Benoit
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
The Baseball Project
The Local Skank
The Minus 5
The Radiators
The Young Fresh Fellows
Theresa Andersson
Times Two
Tin Men
Trent Reznor
Voice of the Wetlands Allstars
Zydepunks
Xeroskye