Letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Regarding Oil Spill Cleanup Funding

The ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has resulted in tragic loss of life, damaged the livelihoods of many, and is creating an unknown but likely devastating environmental disaster. Though the full impact of the spill on the Gulf's coastal communities and its marine resources is still unknown, experience from past spills indicates that the damage will last for years.  On behalf of the Pew Environment Group, I'm writing to urge you to respond forcefully to this crisis by providing increased funding to address ecological needs in the Gulf region. Though we support the Obama Administration's request to provide the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with $30 million for environmental studies and unemployment compensation for fishermen, we feel that more – specifically $50 million - is needed to support oil spill trajectory modeling, natural resource damage assessments and cooperative research to fill critical information gaps and keep fishermen on the water.