Call-in Day for the Gulf
The Deepwater Horizon well was finally capped this summer, but the environmental and economic damage from the spilling of nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico remains. Joblessness, mental and physical health threats, and food insecurity continue to plague individuals and communities across the Gulf Coast, and the oil industry continues to operate under an outdated and inadequate system of regulation and oversight.
This summer, the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources Act (H.R. 3534), which aims to improve regulation and oversight in the oil and natural resources industries, but the Senate has yet to act. With Congress back in Washington, D.C. for the Lame Duck session, we have one final chance to act this year on the unfinished business of restoring the environment and empowering the citizens of the Gulf Coast, and taking important steps to prevent future oil disasters.
Though broader legislation is still needed to respond to the disaster and reform the fossil fuel industry, this short Congressional session is a key time to push for simple, concrete measures to begin the process of restoration and renewal for America’s Gulf Coast: improved oversight of the oil industry, ensuring that citizens have a voice in the recovery and renewal of their Gulf Coast, and beginning the environmental restoration process.
As Jews we are called from the earliest verses of torah to be good stewards of our resources, including water and energy, and to take care not to spoil our natural world. In the Book of Deuteronomy we learn that “If there is a needy person among you…do note harden your heart and shut your hand against your kin. Rather, you must open your hand and lend whatever is sufficient.” The crisis in the Gulf is an illustration of our failure to live up to these mandates, but we can take action to ensure that such a disaster does not happen again.
On Tuesday, December 7, join allies and advocates from the Gulf Coast and across the country in calling on Congress to respond to the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history and give the people of the Gulf a voice in the restoration process. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121. Our nation, and our leaders in Congress, cannot and must not abandon the Gulf Coast to undertake an unaided recovery. For more information, contact Sustainability Program Coordinator Rachel Cohen at 202.387.2800.
Made the call? Let us know how it went.