As Kerry Weber reported from New Orleans today, Catholic Charities and other humanitarian agencies are assisting the vast population of fishermen whose livelihoods are in serious jeopardy after the BP oil spill in the Gulf. The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, is reportedly pursuing a full investigation, which would include consideration of what laws BP may likely have broken. These include the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act. And that is at it should be!
As a member of the National Wildlife Federation (not to mention the Audubon Society among others), I routinely receive mailings and press releases—admittedly they are always requesting financial support—but I want to share select parts of a notice I received last week, entitled “Oil Spill Puts Wildlife in Crisis”:
Extreme hypothermia, kidney and lung damage, painful skin
infections, internal bleeding and death. It’s shocking, but
these are the very real threats facing wildlife like birds, dolphins,
and sea turtles because of the oil spill off the Louisiana coast….[This
environmental disaster] could wipe out entire generations of wildlife.
NWF has mobilized a team on the front lines of this crisis…trying
to protect animals and conserve their habitat…even as the
suffocating oil…oozes onto shore….If conditions …worsen,
we stand to lose an entire generation of wildlife.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, our greed for oil is at the center of this, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It is gratifying to know that some aid is available to alleviate the anguish of our southern neighbors—both human and non-human.
Patricia A. Kossmann