Audubon Florida’s exec. director, Eric Draper, will testify tomorrow about the damage to the Gulf.
Audubon issued a press release late this afternoon stating that Draper will speak before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. EST. The focus of the hearing is Gulf Restoration: A Progress Report Three Years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.
He will testify that “thousands of birds from dozens of species succumbed to the chemical mix during the months when the oil flowed unabated”, and that Gulf residents likewise “will never forget the tragic images of wildlife struggling against the oily muck.”
“In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, considerable efforts are underway to make the Gulf Ecosystem more resilient,” Draper, said. “As these plans advance, the aim must be to protect and preserve the watersheds, wetlands, and wildlife that make our region so special.”
In tonight’s press release, Audubon pointed out that after the BP oil spill, which they referred to specifically as the “Deepwater Horizon oil spill” first became public, more than 35,000 people contacted Audubon to volunteer, to monitor beaches for additional oil, or to act as bird stewards.
“Across the Gulf, our ecology is our economy, and we know that the integrity of the Gulf and its habitats supports our economic well-being,” said Draper. “We are looking at a once-in-a-lifetime chance to restore the Gulf. Audubon is encouraging decision-makers to focus on the long-term sustainability of our coastal ecosystems.”
In his 10-page testimony tomorrow, he will discuss everything from the booms that broke and therefore caused oil to flood shores and affect wildlife, to Audubon’s “vision for the Gulf”, which includes promoting long-term health of the habitats and marine resources while trying to restore the natural ecosystem.
He’ll delve into the minutae of remedies underway since the spill including the Natural Resources Damages Assessment (“NRDA”), and how Audubon Florida was the successful bidder under it to manage 19 coastal bird habitats at sites in the Florida Panhandle. This involves “posting protected areas for beach nesting birds, [and] monitoring, surveying and stewarding these vulnerable sites,” according to Draper’s testimony tomorrow.
To read Eric Draper’s submitted written testimony, please click here.
Other “witnesses” at tomorrow’s testimony include Mayor George Neugent from Monroe County, Fla., Jeff Trandahl, exec. dir of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Lois Schiffer, General Counsel with NOAA. To read more about and follow the Senate proceedings tomorrow via webcast, click here.
Emphases the Examiner’s.