An Open Letter to our National and Local Leaders and Legislators
2011 September 06
Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen,
You are in unique positions of privilege and authority that permit you to affect our lives, the lives of our children and their children's children.
You and your predecessors never asked our permission to drill into the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico off of our shores or in our wetlands, or to litter our waters with oil and gas platforms and pipelines and abandoned oilfield structures.
You and your predecessors never asked our permission to use toxic chemical dispersants to dilute and sink the oil that spilled from wells or leaking pipelines. You never asked our permission to discharge drilling fluids and process waters that contain radioactive contaminants into the Gulf.
Had you asked us, you would never have received permission to do much of the drilling and poisoning of the Gulf that has occurred to date.
We want to live as we were intended to live, to breathe clean air, drink pure water, and eat food that is naturally wholesome and healthful and life-giving, not laden with unnatural, organo-toxic chemicals. We understand how dependent our lifestyles have become on the short-term convenience and affordability of fossil-fuel energies, and how our states have earned money by compromising our waters and wetlands, our health and our food supplies, our beauty and our biodiversity.
We know what an adjustment and near-term hardship it will be for us to retrace this tragic path that was forged without our permission. We want to develop energy sources that are harmless to nature, our environment, and our lives. We want to fish and farm sustainably. We want to be true citizens and stewards of this planet, not exploiters, parasites, polluters, and tumors.
Your choices have killed generations of marine mammals, birds and other marine life, and have negatively affected human beings for generations to come. Your choices are continuing to contaminate the Gulf and all that lives therein and nearby.
You misled us about the safety of deepwater drilling. We knew it makes no good sense to drill too deeply into our mother Earth.
You misled us about the safety of diluting toxic oil spills with still more toxic chemicals. We knew it makes no good sense to fight toxins with yet more toxins, to hide huge slicks of surface oil from our sight by dispersing them into a pervasive underwater fog and submerged oil pools.
You misled us about the safety of eating seafood caught in the areas where oil and chemical dispersants abound. We knew that what tested toxic is toxic, regardless of its concentration.
Don't tell us the oil is gone, that the Gulf is healed, and that our seafood is safe, when none of that is true.
And don't try to give us our [old] lives back. We are taking our own lives back. We are re-claiming the lives of our children and their children's children, the lives of our kindred beings, the lives of the Gulf, and the lives of this planet. We are not running away and leaving the Gulf of Mexico to corporate and political agendas. We are here for the Gulf, and for the long-term.
THE OIL IS STILL HERE, AND SO ARE WE!
Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.
President and Founder, On Wings Of Care, Inc.
California non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to Saving Lives and Habitat