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Act Now on Legislation to Protect Our Wetlands
Dear [Decision Maker],
Almost 10 months ago, the BP oil disaster killed 11 oil industry workers, polluted thousands of miles of America's Gulf coast, devastated hundreds of small businesses and tens of thousands of jobs, and jeopardized the future of all of our coastal communities. Even now, oil continues to foul Louisiana's coastal wetlands, with tar balls and oil mats washing ashore and adding to the severe threats that already face coastal wetlands.
Louisiana's wetlands are now the fastest disappearing land mass on Earth, with roughly a football field of land washing away every 45 minutes. Decades of oil and gas development and federal levees have weakened coastal wetlands to the point of collapse. This slow motion environmental catastrophe is not just Louisiana's problem - it is our nation's problem, threatening our energy security, our shipping and seafood industries, and our economy. Wetlands provide natural services valued at more than $100 billion, including hurricane protection and habitat for more than 75% of Louisiana's commercially harvested fish and millions of migratory birds. Rich with economic and cultural value, our wetlands are worth protecting. The BP Oil Spill Commission recently issued its final report, which includes recommendations on how we might prevent future disasters like that in the Gulf, and begin the vital task of restoring our coast. Please support legislation to implement the final recommendations of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Final Report:-Strengthen safety and environmental standards for offshore drilling to help ensure that never again will energy workers' lives be lost, fishermen and families thrown out of work and our marine life and wetlands harmed for years to come-Create a Regional Citizen's Advisory Council, like the one set up in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, to ensure and protect the rights of the residents of the Gulf to meaningful input and access to decision makers in coastal restoration and future drilling-Commit 80% of Clean Water Act fines from the BP disaster to comprehensive ecological restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, and create a Public Advisory Council to monitor those restoration efforts to ensure the funds are spent based on sound science and not politics.-In addition to the Commission's recommendations, please work to set up a Clean Energy Fund that will ensure that we invest in a clean energy economy so we can create safe and sustainable jobs and strengthen our energy security for the future.
Please begin work implementing the commission's recommendations and developing better policies to protect the Gulf Coast and the livelihoods that depend on it. This country cannot afford to ignore twin disasters of the BP oil spill and the continued loss of our coastal wetlands.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]