Oil Flow Stopped, yet Impacts Remain

The flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig has been cut off since July 15, and BP continues to work on drilling the relief well to make this fix permanent.  This is good news. 

However, work remains in around the Gulf of Mexico in many ways.  Last week I participated in a conference call sponsored by the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.  On the call, Sharon Gauthe with the Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing(BISCO) shared that people in the Gulf area still feel like they are in a crisis and worry that they will be abandoned. 

There have been several studies recently gauging the emotional reaction to the Gulf Oil Disaster.  A Washington Post-ABC poll taken from July 7-11 in affected areas in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi found that in "more affected areas" 55% of respondents are angry about the spill, and 39% are depressed about the spill.  See the full poll results.

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University performed a study sponsored by the Children's Health Fund on how children and families have been affected by the oil spill.  The study, which you can view in full, found that of people polled within a 10 mile radius of the affected coastline, over one-third of parents reported that their children experienced physical symptoms or mental health distress due to the oil spill.  Over one-quarter of residents think they may have to move from the Gulf region due to the oil spill.

Let us keep the people of the Gulf in our prayers.  Let us also work to keep the Gulf Oil Disaster in front of our elected officials.  Sign a prayer petition for the Gulf, asking our leaders for a just and moral response to the Oil Disaster.

On October 3rd, the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program will be sponsoring a nationwide day of worship and healing for the Gulf.  Congregations are urged to hold a candle light vigil for the Gulf of Mexico as God's people and earth recover from the oil disaster.  More information and resources will be available soon. 


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