The Gulf Emergency Summit & Going Forward

On Saturday, June 19, 100 people came together in New Orleans – with another 1900 watching via live webcast (at for an Emergency Summit to Stop the Gulf Oil Catastrophe.  Present were fishing families immediately affected, academics, scientists, and activists who traveled from New York, California, the Midwest, and Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and the NOLA region.  Moving presentations were given by Larry Everest, Elizabeth Cook, John Clark, Cindy Sheehan, Kindra Arneson, Barry Thornton, Joetta Carr and Raymond Lotta.  Dozens spoke from the floor.  
Through the day we got a deeper understanding of the magnitude of the catastrophe, the bankruptcy of the government and BP’s response, and the deeper causes of the disaster. And most importantly, after much discussion and wrestling with the issues, real unity was achieved that this was an extraordinary emergency that required an extraordinary response, one that must not be left in the hands of BP and the government, but calls for a broad and determined peoples’ response. The summit was a real beginning - we won’t sit by or be reduced to passive spectators, we’re committed to getting out the truth, mobilizing mass independent action, and galvanizing many, many more to act to stop the oil catastrophe.
Some initial steps discussed:  
* Forming an organization – to reach out nationally and locally, with an e-list, website, and organizational structure, and endorsed by a wide range of people.  
* Uniting with people across the country and calling on people to come to New Orleans and the Gulf to help stop this disaster. 
* The need for political protest and resistance.  On Monday, we had our first action – the first protest at the offices of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command Center.  It was a breath of fresh air and widely covered in the press (Channel 6: 
* Challenging and refuting BP’s and the government’s narrative – their lies, distortions, and omissions – and become a beacon of truth and informational hub, including linking with other websites and helping people in affected communities tell their stories
* Build on important beginning connections made with scientists; strategize with them to bring forward an independent scientific voice, not controlled by BP or USG; scientists have a responsibility to expose the truth right now – whistleblowers are called for, censorship and suppression must not be tolerated.
* Link up with affected communities.  Emergency Committee meetings could be held in affected areas across the Gulf; we could join with and support those acting independently to save coasts or wildlife; local actions could galvanize national support; bring scientists, environmentalists, and activists to affected areas.
At our first meeting after the summit, we decided to name the group The Emergency Committee to Stop the Gulf Oil Disaster.
We also did further work on our demands and agreed on the following:
1) Stop oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Full compensation, retraining, and new employment for all affected.
2) Immediately end use of dispersants. Fund all necessary scientific and medical research on human and environmental impact of dispersants and make public all findings.  Immediately begin remediation of damage caused by dispersants.
3) The government and entire oil industry must allocate all necessary resources to stop and clean up the blowout gusher, prevent oil from hitting shore, protect wildlife, treat injured wildlife, and repair all devastation. Full support, including by compensation and a major public works program, must be given to peoples’ efforts on all these fronts and to save the Gulf.
4) No punishment to those taking initiative independent of BP and the government to protect the environment and public health; no gag orders on people hired, contracted, or who volunteer.  Those responsible for this crime against the environment and the people should be prosecuted.
5) Full mobilization of scientists and engineers. Complete transparency and disclosure of all information and documentation, including scientific and technical data, concerning every aspect of this disaster.  
6) Full compensation for all losing livelihood and income from the disaster.
7) Immediately provide all necessary medical services to those suffering direct and indirect health effects from the oil disaster.  Immediately protect the health of and provide all necessary equipment for everyone involved in clean up operations. Full disclosure of medical and scientific studies concerning the impacts of the oil disaster.  
Two reports on the Summit: