Federal Assessment and Reporting of BP Macondo 252 Well Oil Spill Impacts

WHEREAS, the Nation’s largest oil spill occurred off the Louisiana coast during the summer of 2010 resulting in widespread damage to coastal and marine resources as well as the social and economic well being of the people of Louisiana, and

WHEREAS, the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the BP Macondo 252 oil spill reached the following key conclusions in its January 2011 Final Report:

  • The explosive loss of the BP Macondo 252 well could have been prevented.
  • The immediate causes of the BP Macondo 252 well blowout can be traced to a series of identifiable mistakes made by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean that reveal such systematic failures in risk management that they place in doubt the safety culture of the entire industry.
  • Deepwater energy exploration and production, particularly at the frontiers of experience, involve risks for which neither industry nor government has been adequately prepared, but for which they can and must be prepared in the future.
  • To assure human safety and environmental protection, regulatory oversight of leasing, energy exploration, and production require reforms even beyond those significant reforms already initiated since the BP Macondo 252 disaster.  Fundamental reform will be needed in both the structure of those in charge of regulatory oversight and their internal decision-making process to ensure their political autonomy, technical expertise, and their full consideration of environmental protection concerns.
  • Because regulatory oversight alone will not be sufficient to ensure adequate safety, the oil and gas industry will need to take its own unilateral steps to dramatically increase safety throughout the industry, including self-policing mechanisms that supplement governmental enforcement.
  • The technology, laws and regulations, and practices for containing, responding to, and cleaning up spills lag behind the real risks associated with deepwater drilling into large, high-pressure reservoirs of oil and gas located far offshore and thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.  Government must close the existing gap, and industry must support rather than resist that effort.
  • Scientific understanding of environmental conditions in sensitive environments in deep Gulf waters, along the region’s coastal habitats, and in areas proposed for more drilling, such as the Arctic, is inadequate.  The same is true of the human and natural impacts of oil spills, and

WHEREAS, the BP Macondo 252 oil spill occurred in Federal Outer Continental Shelf waters off the Louisiana Coast under the regulation and permission of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and

WHEREAS, although numerous independent studies are underway, damages to fish and wildlife have not been methodically assessed and monitored by the Federal government, nor have they been reported to the public, and

WHEREAS, recent reports by independent university researchers indicate that oil from the spill still rests upon the water bottoms causing widespread and chronic affects on benthic organisms, and

WHEREAS, the cumulative effects of the oil on fish and wildlife have not been monitored and reported and, adding to our concern, the application of millions of gallons of 18,379 barrels of oil dispersing chemicals could cause long lasting damage to the ecosystem, and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, representing 25 state and local affiliated conservation organizations and 8,000 individual members, issued a statement on June 23, 2010, calling for a 3-pronged strategy of “Response, Reparation and Prevention” with many recommendations to insure that this disaster is not repeated and that everything that is humanly possible is done to repair our coast and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and

WHEREAS, there has been little reporting of the Federal response to the oil spill, and no assessment of impacts on behalf of the federal government appears to be forthcoming.

Therefore be it resolved that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation requests, under the Freedom of Information Act of 1966, the following information from all trustees involved (as soon as legally allowable):

a-) Steps that all agencies have taken to address the problems cited in the seven key findings in the report of the National Commission on the BP Macondo 252 Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling;

b-)  A description of all studies that have been sponsored by the Department of the Interior, its agencies and other trustees concerning the BP Macondo 252 oil spill;

c-) Results of any studies that were designed to assess the impacts of the BP Macondo 252 oil spill on fish, wildlife, and coastal and marine habitats; and

d-) Its written plans for assessing the ecological impacts of the BP Macondo 252 oil spill.

Be it further resolved that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation call for the Department of the Interior to host, as soon as legally allowable, an annual public meeting in coastal Louisiana to report its findings regarding the recovery, or lack thereof, of species and habitats during the first two years following the BP Macondo 252 oil spill.

Be it further resolved that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation call for the Department of the Interior to publish a comprehensive synthesis and assessment report on the impacts of the oil spill on fish, wildlife and habitats within three years following the BP Macondo 252 oil spill, as well as a 5- and 10-year synthesis report.

Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in Convention Assembled, March 20, 2011 in Alexandria, Louisiana

Resolution #:17E, 2011
Date Proposed:03/20/2011
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