One Month after the BP Blowout, Sierra Club Calls for Drilling Moratorium Disaster is a Wake Up Call

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–May 20, 2010.  Today marks one month since BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and creating an environmental and economic catastrophe in the Gulf Coast. Today, Sierra Club and other conservation groups sent a letter to President Obama calling for a formal moratorium on new offshore drilling.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

Thirty days ago, when BP’s offshore drilling rig exploded, the company reassured us that the impacts would not be serious. Today, we know that despite desperate attempts to respond to the disaster, oil is pouring into the ocean at a rate of as much as one million gallons a day. The Gulf Coast fishing and tourism industries are at stand still.

In the month since the blowout, we have seen just how grossly unprepared the oil industry is for a disaster of this scale. We’re now looking at a scenario where response plans include lighting the ocean on fire, pouring potent chemicals into the water, and using trash and human hair to stop the flow of oil. If this is the back up plan, we need to rethink taking the risk in the first place.

A disaster of this scale can happen anywhere where offshore drilling takes place. We are calling on President Obama to issue a presidential moratorium on offshore drilling. A moratorium would offer solace to coastal communities in places like Florida, Virginia and California, where the oil industry has been pushing to drill.

But we need more. We need assurance that this won’t happen again. We need President Obama to deliver a bold plan to get America off oil over the next two decades. In this age, there is no reason we should be putting our fragile coasts and jobs at risk. We already have the technology to create a clean, 21st century transportation system that will end our addiction to oil.

We’ve been talking about getting off oil for decades. This disaster is a wake up call. It’s time to finally stand up to Big Oil and do what’s best for America’s children and grandchildren. Enough is enough. It’s time to get off oil and on to clean energy.