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MESSAGE TO BOEMRE: Intensify oversight and prevent oil industry accidents

October 10th, 2011

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans residents are today delivering a message outside of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE): intensify oversight and prevent oil industry accidents. This message is different from the state’s politicians who, on behalf of the oil industry, are expected to pressure the Bureau to relax oversight in a meeting this morning. “Oil industry and government records detail thousands of oil industry accidents in the year since the BP Disaster,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We need to learn from that disaster and defend our coast and our people.”

The Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Team released its final report last month, and the evidence included violations of numerous safety regulations. The report found both BP and contractors failed to follow federal regulations. This trend continues today.

According to the National Response Center there were over 3,000 oil industry accidents in the Gulf of Mexico during the last year. This high accident rate mirrors the industry’s problems on shore. According to reports filed at the Department of Environmental Quality, the state’s 17 refineries have averaged nine accidents a week since 2005. “The bottom line is that the oil industry has an accident problem, and we need more, not less federal oversight,” said Ms. Rolfes.

The BP Oil Disaster is the most glaring example of oil industry accidents, and coastal residents continue to feel the effects. A study released two weeks ago by scientists, including LSU’s Andrew Whitehead, found that the impacts to the cocahoe minnow – a base of the food chain – are likely to be serious and long lasting, impacting fisheries for years to come.

Protecting our ecosystem from oil pollution must be paired with real investment in renewable energy. The BP oil disaster cleanup costs alone reached $5 million a day. If our nation invested in wind energy at that rate, it would result in the ability to power 900 homes each day with environmental friendly energy.

The groups today are calling on BOEMRE to resist the pressure from politicians and listen to the ordinary people impacted by oil industry accidents.

For a breakdown of accidents in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP Oil Disaster, click here.

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