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This blog is written by Marylee Orr, Executive Director of Louisiana Environmental Action Network. Her sons Paul and Michael Orr have been testing seafood along the Louisiana coastline in the wake of the BP oil disaster.

Today communities from Texas to Florida who were directly impacted by the BP oil disaster released the report State of the Gulf: A Status Report from the Gulf Coast Waterkeepers in the Wake of the BP Oil Disaster”. My son, Paul, is one of seven Waterkeepers on the Gulf who are releasing the report. We live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and have been actively working to hold BP and our government accountable for the largest environmental disaster our nation has ever seen.

From the moment we heard of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon we knew we wouldn’t just be mourning the loss of human life, but also parts of our ecosystem. Over a year later we still have more questions than answers. Scientific studies have been slow to come out and the impacts of the unprecedented amounts of toxic dispersants won’t be known for years. People all along the Gulf Coast are suffering from health impacts and BP has denied all health related claims from those most impacted by their reckless behavior. One thing we know is that the BP oil disaster is not over, no matter what BP wants you to believe.

The State of the Gulf was written by seven Waterkeepers, Galveston Baykeeper, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Mobile Baykeeper, Emerald Coastkeeper, and Apalachicola Riverkeeper. These strong water advocates formed the Save Our Gulf initiative in the days following the start of the BP oil disaster last summer. The report documents the progress, current conditions and makes recommendations for Gulf Coast restoration efforts.

The report includes the results of over 80 aquatic organism, water, and sediment samples taken from Louisiana to Florida. We don’t know the impacts 1.8 million gallons of toxic dispersants and 250 million gallons of crude oil will have on our ecosystem.  Experts believe that three-fourths of the oil from this unprecedented environmental disaster is still sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The Waterkeepers sampling shows that oil contamination may be increasing over time. With so many unknowns, there is a real need for long term environmental monitoring.

My son, Paul, regularly takes his Waterkeeper boat, JULIA, to monitor the Mississippi River and the coastal areas on the Gulf. He continually sees impacts of the spill on the coastline. Even though my children are grown, I worry about their future. Louisiana is facing a severe coastal erosion problem and the oil disaster compounded the problems of our already fragile environment.  BP must be held accountable for the damage done until every community is made whole again, not just pushed off the front pages until the rest of the country forgets.

Take a moment to read the State of the Gulf. It’s an informative update on the real story of the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil disaster.

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