ADDENDUM 7/29: Sandra Bullock has withdrawn her support this morning from the PSA, so likely it will come down shortly. Women of the Storm, a disaster response nonprofit has yet to issue a statement about why they partnered with the Petroleum group.
The oil has stopped flowing in the Gulf, but there is no doubt about one thing — we will be attempting to restore the Gulf Coast for a long, long time to come. And though BP has claimed it will pay "all legitimate claims," the oil industry has been spending an unprecedented fortune lobbying Congress to water down the company's liability requirements and provide multiple liability escape routes for BP.
It's likely $20 billion will not come close to being enough to completely remediate coastal wetlands, fishing grounds, and the health and economic impacts felt by Gulf Coast residents. So though BP is supposed to pay to make the Gulf "as good as new," it is highly improbable they will do so.
Looking back at the Exxon Valdez as a precedent (a much smaller spill that to this day has never been remediated) Women of the Storm, a nonprofit created in response to Hurricane Katrina, has formed a petition to demand that BP doesn't shirk its duties and that the U.S. government ensures a complete restoration of the Gulf.
They also have a nifty Tshirt with a large printed barcode that can be scanned by an iPhone and will call up the petition on your phone — a nice street-marketing concept. The site offers some compelling statistics about the importance of this region, providing all the more reason to sign the petition now:
- The region is a vital economic engine for the country, supplying $3 trillion annually to the U.S. economy.
- One-third of the seafood consumed in the country comes from the Gulf.
- Two-thirds of the royalties that the United States Treasury receives annually from oil and gas produced from the Outer Continental Shelf is generated by operations in the Gulf.
- The Gulf of Mexico's shores and beaches support a $20 billion tourist industry.
- The commercial fish and shellfish annual harvest from the five U.S. Gulf states is estimated to be 1.3 billion pounds valued at $661 million.
- The Gulf shrimp harvest led the nation in 2008, with 188.8 million pounds valued at $367 million dockside, accounting for about 70 percent of the U.S. total.
- The Gulf also led in production of oysters in 2008 with 20.6 million pounds of meats valued at $60.2 million and representing 70 percent of the national total.
- The Gulf's coastal wetlands serve as an essential habitat for numerous fish and wildlife species, including migrating waterfowl (about 75 percent of those traversing the U.S.), seabirds, wading birds, furbearers, and sport and commercial fisheries.
- Out of the top 10 sea ports in the United States, seven are on the Gulf of Mexico.
- Agricultural production (crops, livestock, and associated products) in the Gulf States totaled nearly $29 billion in 2001 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.