News / USA

Gulf Residents Affected by Oil Spill Pushing Congress for Clean Energy Legislation

A man from the gulf coast region brings a sample of oil tainted water to a meeting with senators in Washington.
A man from the gulf coast region brings a sample of oil tainted water to a meeting with senators in Washington.

Multimedia

Nearly 100 residents from America's Gulf Coast converged on Capitol Hill this week.  They wanted to meet with their representatives and senators to relay their personal stories about the effects of the oil spill.  They also wanted to encourage passage of a clean energy bill that would transition the nation away from fossil fuel and toward alternative energy.  

A visit to a U.S. senator involves a lot of waiting.  A jar of cloudy seawater and oily black-speckled sand sits on the ledge in the hallway of the Senate Office Building.  A staffer announces the senator is ready and escorts the group into a conference room.  A man plops the jar directly in front of the empty seat at the head of the table where the senators will sit.  It's a sample from their Florida cities, areas just now being affected by the oil spill.  

They want to tell Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado to speed through an energy bill.  Their chance to do that comes quickly, as Senator Udall walks into the room.

They meet with the senator for 15 minutes and he meets with us for five.

"What I assured them was: given their plea and call and demand in a polite way for us to have a clean energy future, that was job one for me," said Udall.  "That has long been one of my main motivations for being an elected official."

Udall says he plans to bring a climate energy bill to the floor of the Senate by July 4.  This was Meggin McPhee's second appointment with a senator.  She flew up from Destin, Florida.

"It's enabled us to bring a real voice to some in Washington, D.C. who watch the news and see the pictures and realize what's happening, but when they're able to put a true voice to what's going on down there and I think we've been well received," said McPhee.

Nearly 100 residents like Meggin were flown to DC by Repower America, an organization promoting clean energy, run by former Vice President Al Gore.  

The group went on to meet with several other elected officials.  David Augustine of New Orleans says his group met with a staffer of Republican Senator David Vitter, who also represents Louisiana.

"[Vitter] said to be patient, but my mindset towards this situation is that 'sorry' is not enough anymore."

David feels so strongly, that as a rapper, he's written a song about politicians and the gulf.  One line in the song is particularly relevant:

"Yeah, you apologized, you admitted you're wrong, but we're the ones that got to suffer.  You all get to go home. Sorry ain't enough no more."

This group wants immediate action.  But there's a lot left to discuss on Capitol Hill, with Senate Democrats trying to combine an energy bill with a climate bill and Republicans opposing the idea and calling it an energy tax.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs