Friday, November 19, 2010

Ninety Artists Urge Obama to Stay Focused on the Gulf

Pearl Jam joins 89 other artists in writing to President Barack Obama, urging him to stay focused on the recovery of the Gulf of Mexico and to ensure oversight of future drilling decisions.  For more information about Pearl Jam's environmental advocacy or to learn ways that you can get involved, visit

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

November 18, 2010

Dear President Obama,

As you are well aware, the BP deepwater drilling disaster has delivered a severe blow to the marine and coastal environments of the Gulf Coast, as well as the communities which rely upon a healthy Gulf for their economy and way of life. These communities are the originators and guardians of some of our nation’s most unique cultures. As musicians, we are all in debt to this irreplaceable region, and are calling on you to help ensure its survival:

The BP disaster is on-going and will have lasting impacts. There are still tens of millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf and much more dispersed oil – and chemical dispersant itself – below the surface. The BP drilling disaster was at least 15 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill, and we know from Alaska that the ripple effects of the disaster will be felt for decades. It will be a long road to restoration, and the Federal government needs to stay focused on the disaster and environmental impacts that are just beginning to play out.

The BP disaster has taken a toll on the Gulf Coast, and real impacts will be felt by real people for years. The Gulf’s people and places need lasting and continued support to get back on their feet. Fishing, recreation, seafood and tourism are cornerstones of the Gulf economy. These industries hang in the balance because of the disaster. Thousands of families’ lives have been profoundly affected, with much of the damage having long-term consequences – physically, emotionally, and financially. Resources and support must be accessible to all those affected in order to make Gulf communities whole again.

BP’s disaster is only the latest, most visible example of on-going environmental destruction in the Gulf by the oil and gas industry. Louisiana loses a football field worth of wetlands every 45 minutes, and 40 to 60% of that loss is attributed to oil and gas activity, including exploration and dredging pipeline canals. The oil and gas industry must pay its fair share to restore these wetlands, and a large portion of the fines levied against BP should be dedicated to on-going restoration efforts through your Gulf Restoration plan implementation.

Let’s not let it happen again. Reforms are urgently needed to prevent more drilling disasters. BP is not a rogue actor when it comes to taking big risks at the expense of the Gulf. Regulatory reforms and policy changes are urgently needed to prevent future drilling disasters and ensure oil-rig safety in the Gulf and elsewhere, and to guarantee rapid cleanup when accidents do occur. Your administration needs to follow through with the overhaul of federal agencies, separating the functions of enforcement and royalty collection. Ultimately, the solution is to transition our nation to a clean energy economy as soon as possible.

Locals must have a voice in decisions that will impact their region and their homes. A Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council must be formed to ensure that impacted communities are formally involved in the oversight of future drilling decisions and oil industry actions. As the citizens of Alaska have done in the years following the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, citizens of the Gulf must also become more engaged and take responsibility for keeping the energy industry and government accountable.

President Obama, we appreciate the initiatives you’ve launched to help the Gulf recover, from the demand for a $20 billion trust fund for community damages, to the creation of a Gulf Coast Recovery Plan, headed by Navy Secretary Mabus. Please do all you can to ensure these efforts address the concerns we’ve raised, and help the amazing and irreplaceable cultures of the Gulf region remain vibrant and productive for generations to come.


Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys

Anders Osborne

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux

Big Don

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Big Sam's Funky Nation

Blue Party


Bonnie Raitt

Boots Riley (of The Coup)

Boys Noize

Brian Coogan and Mike Dillon

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcom

Charlie Wooten Project

Clint Maedgen

Corrosion of Conformity

Cyril Neville

Davis Rogan

Dead Confederate

Derrick Freeman (of Kermit Ruffins)

DJ Zkosta


Dr. John

Egg Yolk Jubilee

Fatter Than Albert


Fitz & the Tantrums

Fleur De Tease


Garage A Trois

George Porter, Jr. and Runnin' Pardners

Happy Talk Band

Helen Gillet

Honey Island Swamp Band

Indigo Girls

Interparty System

Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes

Johnny Vidacovich

Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights

JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys

Kellindo Parker (of Janelle Monae)

Kristin Diable


Locos Por Juana

Marc Broussard

March Fourth Marching Band

MC Sweet Tea


Miracle at St. Anna

Morning Life

My Morning Jacket


New Orleans Bingo! Show

Noisician Coalition

Nu Guise

O’ Brother


Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Roadshow

Pearl Jam


Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Quintron and Miss Pussycat


Rise Against

River City Extension

Rock City Morgue

Rotary Downs


Smokey’s Farmland Band

Sons of William

Soul Rebels Brass Band

Stanton Moore Trio

Stone Rabbits


Swiss Chriss

Tab Benoit

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

The Baseball Project

The Local Skank

The Minus 5

The Radiators

The Young Fresh Fellows

Theresa Andersson

Times Two

Tin Men

Trent Reznor

Voice of the Wetlands Allstars