Casey Roberts, Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Energy, 504.982.0468
Raleigh Hoke, Communications Director, Gulf Restoration Network, 504.525.1528, ext 204
President Obama’s announcement on climate change is getting strong support from a coalition of Gulf Coast organizations and individuals relieved that the President is finally taking strong action. “The future of the Gulf Coast and the nation depends on strong, swift and decisive national leadership on climate change,” said Derrick Evans, Managing Advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. “The hopeful and resilient people of the overburdened gulf coast, aka the Energy Coast, earnestly applaud President Obama's historic announcement. The time for truth, courage and change is now.”
The Gulf south region has lived uncomfortably with the oil and gas industry for decades. From the air and water pollution to the political contamination, the people of the Gulf Coast have struggled with the powerful fossil fuel-based industry sector, which continues its assault on alternative energy in the region. “On Wednesday, the Louisiana Public Service Commission will be debating whether to support energy efficiency and solar power,” said Casey DeMoss Roberts, Executive Director of the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “Both are affordable, clean, and the technology is available now. That said, the debate at the Commission is going to be fierce. National leadership is desperately needed.”
Despite the region’s extreme vulnerability to climate change, Gulf state politicians have largely ignored the problem. Louisiana’s delegation is currently seeking billions of dollars of Federal support for coastal restoration while undermining any effort to slow sea level rise. “The Gulf has long suffered the brunt of the damage from the nation’s addiction to dirty energy, and even now, new coal export terminal expansions are threatening to derail coastal restoration in Louisiana,” said Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director with the Gulf Restoration Network. “We’re pleased to see the President take a strong step towards slowing climate change, but for many communities in the Gulf, time is running out.”
Louisiana’s coast has lost almost 2000 square miles largely due to actions by the oil industry. According to renowned climate scientist Kerry Emanuel of MIT, Katrina was made stronger by man-made climate change, a trend that is predicted to continue.The demand for oil led BP to make dangerous cost cutting decisions that led to the death of 11 men, billions of dollars in damages, and another toxic legacy for the Gulf Coast.
“When Gulf Coast Senators and some of our representatives assail the President for today’s actions,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, “remember that they are in the pockets of big oil and dirty coal. They do not represent the interests of the ordinary people in Louisiana. We are impacted by climate change. Our Congress people need to get with it or go and join the dinosaurs.”
“The proposed influx of Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast via pipeline, rail and barge will only increase carbon pollution in the region,” said Mr. Evans. “The time for truth, courage andchange is now.”