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Concerned Over Future BP Safety, Gulf Coast Organizations and Supporters Demand Full Trial, Full Disclosure and Citizen Participation

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Concerned over the safety of BP's current and future operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Coast organizations, along with national and international supporters are demanding BP be assessed the maximum Clean Water Act fines possible under current law and that the federal government aggressively move forward with a fully transparent and public trial.  More than forty-five organizations have signed the letter, which was delivered to Department of Justice officials on Wednesday.  Signatories range from small local grassroots organizations to larger international groups. 

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130221/CG64620)

"Justice for the Gulf and all the communities BP has devastated demands full transparency and complete accountability.  We need to learn the lessons of this disaster and demand more of the industry while restoring the ecosystem BP and their colleagues have threatened," said Aaron Viles, Deputy Director of the Gulf Restoration Network.

Referring to economic and environmental restoration efforts, BP claims  "no company has done more faster" in response to an industrial accident. 

Mississippi resident and Advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health Derrick Evans offers a different perspective.  "No company has ever done faster or more thorough catastrophic damage than BP. Not only the rapid flow rate of their 87-day 'spill', but their swift and wrongheaded bombing, sinking and burying of their spilled oil from view. From Florida to Texas, this has accelerated and worsened BP's long term damage to the gulf's ocean floor, water column, coastal marshes, beaches, islands and estuaries . BP has quickly sickened local residents, and swiftly crippled the northern Gulf's once healthy and bountiful domestic seafood industry. No one should be impressed by the speed or thoroughness of BP's response - only by the speed and thoroughness of BP's destruction and their public relations spin."

In addition to the Gulf of Mexico blowout, BP has been plagued in recent years by systemic, egregious and unaddressed safety issues leading to other disasters, including Prudhoe Bay, Texas City, and other deadly incidents. 

According to a Center for Public Integrity report, BP accounted for 829 of the 851 willful violations among all refiners cited by OSHA between June 2007 and February 2010. 

Citing ongoing safety concerns and aiming to reduce the possibility of another repeat disaster by BP, signatories strongly believe citizens of the Gulf Coast and the entire nation deserve a full disclosure of events leading up to the Deepwater Horizon incident, as well as an extensive and transparent assessment of the disaster's full impacts.

"The guys out there on that rig knew something was very wrong.  They tried to tell management the rig was in danger, we have emails showing BP higher-ups ignored those pleas for help. Profit and corporate greed were more important to BP than the lives of our fathers, sons, brothers and neighbors. Eleven men paid with their lives. We will never be able to prevent future disasters if we don't know the full and complete truth about what happened.  We demand a full trial and complete disclosure," said Cherri Foytlin, South Louisiana mother of six and wife of an oil worker. 

Signatories Include:

Alabama Fisheries Cooperative: A Mulit-Cultural Fisher and Seafood Worker-Owned Cooperative, Alabama
Alaska's Big Village Network, Alaska

Amelie Ratliff, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Association of Family Fisherman, Louisiana
Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Louisiana
Better Future Project, Massachusetts
Big Blackfoot Riverkeeper, Montana
Biloxi NAACP, Mississippi
Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Alabama
Citizens Against Toxic Exposure,Inc, Florida
Coastal Women for Change, Mississippi
David Klafter, Brookline, Massachusetts
Deepwater Horizon Study Group, SPE-Society of Petroleum Engineers, Louisiana
Glen Sandberg, Gulfport, Mississippi
Global Green, USA
Government Accountability Project, Washington, DC
Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, Inc., Happy Valley-Goose Bay Labrador, Canada
Gulf Coast Environmental and Health Coalition, Louisiana
Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana
Gulf Islands Conservancy, Mississippi
Indigenous Environmental Network, Minnesota/International
Leslie Spaneas, Brookline, Massachusetts
Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Louisiana
Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Louisiana
Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Louisiana
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Louisiana
Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi
Mobile Bay Sierra Club, Alabama
Mother's for Sustainable Energy, USA
On Wings of Care, Louisiana/California
Operation HomeCare, Inc., Alabama
Raritan Riverkeeper, New Jersey
San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper, Texas
Sierra Club Delta Chapter, Louisiana
South Bay Community Alliance, Alabama
Steps Coalition, Mississippi 
Sustainable Gulf Coast, Florida
Suzette Abbott, Brookline, Massachusetts
Tennessee Riverkeeper, Decatur, Alabama
Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, Texas
Texas Tar Sands Blockade, Texas
Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, Mississippi
UK Tar Sands Network, London, England
Wabash Riverkeeper, Indiana
28 Stones, Louisiana
350.org, USA/International
350 Pensacola, Florida

NOTE TO EDITORS: Gulf Coast representatives are available for interviews and will be in the DC-area through Thursday, February 21st.

Media Contact: Karen Savage TCCI, 617-784-0125, [email protected]

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