Action Alert from Justice & Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ
We have seen some dreadful images from the Gulf Coast in the news during the last several weeks: oiled pelicans being scrubbed by wildlife experts; tar balls washing ashore on Pensacola Beach; thousands of people out of work, desperate and facing the prospect of uncertain future. Many of us have reached the point where we cannot watch, consider, nor absorb any more terrible news about the BP oil spill.
The House of Representatives has passed a climate and energy bill that addresses emissions reductions, energy efficiency standards and renewable energy sources with an eye toward reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Although far from ideal, the House bill is much stronger than versions being discussed in the Senate. This week the Senate takes up their long-delayed consideration of climate and energy legislation, and there are troubling signs that the Senate will settle for a much more narrow energy bill that does not include sufficient provisions to reduce emissions through the cap and trade provision or significantly address dependence on fossil fuels.
Even though BP may have successfully capped the well in recent days, the millions of gallons of oil which have already escaped will continue to cause incalculable damage to countless species and habitats as the oil drifts in ocean currents; covers coastal mangroves, coral reefs and beaches; and sinks to the ocean floor. The vast economic impact to fisheries, tourism and other industries will go on for an untold period of time. Consequently, the affected communities will remain in dire need of government assistance and of the prayers and support of people of faith. Naturally, there is no guarantee that another disaster like this won’t happen in the future, which is why we must have an energy bill that leads us away from our dependence on fossil fuels.
The scientific data is before us, creative and visionary business and entrepreneurial leaders are eager to find sustainable solutions for our energy needs – what is needed is leadership from Congress.
Tell your senators we can’t afford another Deepwater Horizon disaster. Urge them to pass a strong climate and clean energy bill that truly addresses the need to end our dependence of fossil fuels.