Late yesterday afternoon, we found oil onshore at the southern tip of Louisiana near a place called Port Eads. I was on a tiny strip of beach with the Greenpeace team, and we were all shocked at what was there. The oil looked like paint spattered on the beach. In the marshy areas there was discoloration where it was starting to be absorbed. When we looked back at our footprints you could see the sheen of oil in the water. A close look at the reeds, which hold back erosion in the bayou, showed oil coating the base of the plants.
We chartered a boat with a shrimp fisherman whose livelihood has been taken away by the spill. After Hurricane Katrina, he had built up a lucrative shrimping business, but BP has put it to a halt. With the Gulf closed to fishing for the foreseeable future because of a toxic stew of oil and dispersant chemicals, there isn’t much work for him. Most of the other fishermen have gone to work for BP cleaning up the oil, but the pay is too low for him to support his family.
There is a sense among everyone that I talk to that the worst is yet to come. Closed fishing grounds are only the beginning of what will become the worst environmental disaster to hit this country. BP has been parading around talking about containment domes, booms and dispersant, but the truth is that they can’t contain the 200,000 gallons a day that are gushing from the Deepwater drill site. The environment and people’s lives are being ripped to shreds in the Gulf. And the worst thing is that this all could have been prevented.
We need everyone outside of the region to take action in their community to expose the BP disaster and pressure your elected officials to oppose future offshore drilling in the Gulf, Atlantic, Arctic, and everywhere else. This spill is a stark reminder of the cost of our country’s addiction to fossil fuels and the influence that energy corporations have on our government. There’s a better way than this. I’m sure of it.
Entergy Nuclear’s Vermont Yankee reactor is nearing the end of its 40-year operating permit, and the company is seeking a 20-year license renewal. Entergy’s mismanagement has actually been an asset to Greenpeace’s campaign to make sure Vermont denies that license renewal — from a drunken supervisor to a spin-off company, it’s no wonder Vermonters aren’t too keen on their business operations (read more about accidents and incompetence at Vermont Yankee here
). Running 20% above capacity, the infrastructure of the plant has been breaking down in recent years, and it poses a risk to people in three states (read our factsheet
on Vermont Yankee’s license renewal).
Luckily, the VT Legislature gave itself the authority to vote against a license renewal for Vermont Yankee, and that is what we’re making sure happens when the session starts in January. Greenpeace is working in a coalition with some great local groups to move legislators that have not made commitments on what way they will vote. (We also did a tour around the state
earlier this year to talk to Vermonters about nuclear power and the future of energy in their state.)
I had the pleasure of spending the last two weeks with a terrific crew of Greenpeace activists, our GOT students, and volunteers from around Vermont. We organized events in Montpelier, Rutland and Burlington with our One World hot-air balloon. We had state representatives, business leaders, other environmental groups and community members come out to the events to address the crowds. The best quote came from State Representative Paul Poirier who said something like: “I’m no nuclear engineer, just a regular guy, but know that we can’t have Vermont Yankee around any longer.”
The balloon tour highlighted the fact that Vermont doesn’t need nuclear power. We have local renewable companies that could replace the plant’s energy, which would put our money into the hands of our friends and neighbors rather than in Entergy’s pockets. Vermonters are standing up across the state to call for a clean energy future, and we hope you are too.
No nukes in Vermont!