Sample letter to U.S. Representative - Gulf of Mexico Regional ...

nebraskaboomΠετρελαϊκά και Εξόρυξη

8 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Congressman _______________




2013 July _____

Re: Request to introduce proposed legislation to establish a
Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizens’
Advisory Council
(GoM RCAC)

Dear Congressman _________________,

I am writing today to ask that you imm
ediately introduce the attached bill
--


Gulf of Mexico
Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council Act of 2013”
--

which has been drafted by concerned Gulf
Coast citizens.

As you know, we are still dealing with the devastating impacts of the 2010
Deepwater Hori
zon

disaster and will continue to do so for many years to come.


We need to do everything possible
to help the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and communities recover from this disaster.


As well, we
need to do everything possible to prevent future such impacts o
f oil development in the Gulf.

While government and industry have taken modest steps to improve the safety of oil
operations, citizen stakeholders
--

who have most to lose and much to offer
--

have been left
out of the solution altogether.


Please take not
e of other incidents, such as the blowout and
explosion this past July 23 of the Hercules offshore platform #265, last November’s fatal
explosion of the Black Elk offshore rig, and the serious ongoing pollution that continues from
the Taylor Energy offshor
e platform since its destruction in 2004. Clearly, the risk from
offshore oil operations in the Gulf continues. To lower this risk, we simply must involve
citizens in the oversight of oil operations. For this, we need a
Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizens’
Advisory Council

(GoM RCAC).
1

In the summer of 2010, many Gulf citizen organizations proposed establishment of a GoM
RCAC.

(See,
e.g.
,
requests

and
petitions

from Gulf Coast citizens and multiple
organizations
.) A
GoM RCAC had been urged s
trongly by the
Oil Pollution Act of 1990

(OPA90)
2
, with the wise
observation that

Only when local citizens are involved in the process will the trust develop
that is necessary to change the present syst
em from confrontation to consensus.


Its
establishment was mandated in Section 210 of
the
SHORE Act
3
, introduced into the U.S. Senate
in 2010 (not passed). The formation of a GoM RCAC was a
lso a key
recommendation made in
2011

by the National Commission on the BP
Deepwater Horizon

Oil Spill and Offshore
Drilling.
4


Congress has yet to act on the establishment of this most
-
needed Council.

Based on the highly successful
RCAC formed in Alaska’s Prince William Sound
5

formed after



1

Op
-
Ed re the GoMRCAC 20130713 (
Sun Herald
):


http://www.sunherald.com/2013/07/12/4793513/
bonny
-
schumaker
-
the
-
gulf
-
of
-
mexico.html


2

Oil Pollution Act 1990:

http://www.epw.senate.gov/opa90.pdf

3

2010 SHORE Act (Section 210):

ht
tp://www.opencongress.org/bill/111
-
s3597/text

4

2011 Recommendation by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore
Drilling:


http://www.oilspillcommission.gov
/

5

Alaska’s
RCACs:

www.pwsrcac.org

the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, the GoM RCAC would be a collaboration among industry,
government agencies, and residents, with in
dependent voting representation by major citizen
stakeholders across the Gulf Coast


fishermen, tourism operators, women’s organizations,
faith
-
based organizations, indigenous people, local governments, scientists, and environmental
groups.


This Council

would do much to improve engagement and trust among Gulf citizens,
the oil industry, and government.

The GoM RCAC is fundamentally different from, and should not be confused with, the Gulf
Coast Restoration Council's "Citizens Advisory Committee" now in
development. That
committee is intended to provide citizen input exclusively into the
Deepwater Horizon

restoration process.

In contrast, the GoM RCAC will focus citizen oversight and input into all
future Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations, including

exploration, production, transportation,
environmental monitoring, health, and so on.


On May 30, 2013, citizens from across the Gulf Coast met in New Orleans to discuss the
mission, nature, and formation of the GoM RCAC.
6


They invited all Gulf of Mexic
o oil operators
and their associations to join the meeting.


The Gulf citizens vowed to press the issue in
Congress, and toward that end they have drafted the attached
Gulf of Mexico Regional
Citizens’ Advisory Council Act of 2013

(GoM RCAC Act 2013
). This

2013 bill incorporates the
recommendations of OPA90 and the National Commission and differs in two ways from those
of the SHORE Act of 2010: The appointment process is left to the citizen constituencies
themselves, rather than to state governors; and th
e GoM RCAC would be funded not by the oil
companies or U.S. taxpayers, but rather out of the federal
Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund

(OSLTF),
which currently has over $2.7 billion and accrues some $500 million annually from an 8 cent
-
per
-
barrel oil tax nati
onally.

C
itizens have waited long enough for this very reasonable and prudent congressional action to
help protect the Gulf of Mexico.


We need your help urgently to accomplish this. You will
certainly know the most appropriate legislative vehicle to ac
complish this, but it would seem
to me that this could be passed as a stand
-
alone bill or it could be added by amendment to the
recently introduced SAFEGUARDs Act (HR 1820) in the House or to some other current or
future bill.

A
Gulf of Mexico Regional C
itizens Advisory Council

is crucial to the future of the Gulf, its
citizens, the energy industry, and all who rely on a healthy Gulf for life, food, and livelihood.

I look forward to hearing back from you on this urgent request, and I thank you for your
continued support for citizens along the Gulf Coast.

Sincerely,






6

Press Release re the GoMRCAC planning meeting 20130530:


http://bridgethegulfproject.org/node/768