Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement today in response to this week's Congressional hearings on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The current safety standards for oil drilling have failed to protect the Gulf of Mexico and have revealed significant lapses and problems in our drilling policy. This spill is likely to have a devastating effect on the Gulf's coastal communities, its marine life and the fishing industry.
“New offshore drilling, both exploration and production, should not occur until robust safety and environmental standards are developed and put in place that are far more protective than those we have today.
“Over the past several weeks, BP has deployed a variety of methods to stop this spill but so far, nothing has worked. Millions of gallons of oil are now in the Gulf and will stay there. We know from past experience that most spilled oil does not get cleaned up. After the Exxon Valdez accident, for example, only 14 percent of the 11 million gallons of spilled oil was removed. The rest stayed in Alaska's environment.
“What is happening in the Gulf could just as easily happen off the beaches of the southeast Atlantic coast or the wild and pristine Arctic coastline. No other coastal communities should face the heartbreak that the Gulf is facing now.”