Gulf Residents Trek 1,200 Miles on Foot to D.C. to Ask for More Action on BP Oil Spill

One more oil spill anniversary post on a story I’ve been waiting to cover….

Some Louisiana residents and oil spill activists fed up with BP oil spill inaction recently walked to Washington, D.C. from their home state of Louisiana to try to get Congress, the Obama administration, and BP to do more in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its effects on their lives and communities.

The most notable of these people, Cherri Foytlin, is a mother of six and wife of a former oil rig worker. She wanted a one-on-one with Obama. And has called out to him on numerous occasions, including on CNN. Here’s a video from her to Obama last year.

While a meeting with Obama hasn’t come about, she and others have gotten a ton of media attention for their 31-day walk to D.C., as well as the attention of some Congressmen and the EPA. Of course, Obama, in his rather centrist role and excessive interest in saying things are alright (when they’re not), probably doesn’t want to take up the problems of the Gulf oil spill’s continuous effects and a faulty oil spill claims system — certainly not publicly, which would bring more attention to these problems.

As you could expect, the system for dealing out claims to those affected by the BP oil spill is about as screwed up as that infamous offshore oil rig was. Those who deserve and need the money the most are apparently not the most likely to get it. Project Gulf Impact writes:

Whether through lost jobs, health problems, dropped property values, or other severe consequence; the aftermath of the oil spill will resonate through the lives of generations to come. While a cumbersome and inefficient system has been put in place to pay out claims made by impacted residents, the process has proven to be unfairly weighted against those who need it the most. Despite this however, money could by no means right all the wrongs imparted upon the region over the course of this disaster.

There’s much more on that floating around the internet if you want to learn more. Here’s something I read on it earlier today from the Washington Post, via Climate Progress:

The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money.

So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames: “spillionaires” or “BP rich.” Others hurt by the spill wound up getting comparatively little. Many people who got money deserved it. But in the end, BP’s attempt to make things right — spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on damage claims and cleanup — created new divisions and even new wrongs.

Some of the inequities arose from the chaos that followed the April 20 spill. But in at least one corner of Louisiana, the dramatic differences can be traced in part to local powerbrokers.

For a few more details on the march, here’s more from Brian Merchant of TreeHugger on the activist march to Washington:

Matt Smith, Heather Rally, Gavin Garrison, Justin Daly, Lamar Billups of the nonprofit Project Gulf Impact, marched along with Drew Landey and Cherri Foytlin, two prominent residents of the region whose lives were irrevocably changed by the spill, in order to draw attention to the ongoing plight of the Gulf. The activists walked 1,243 miles over 31 days to make it to the nation’s capitol.

The group was supposed to start its trip back home from D.C. today.

Fore more on this story and continuous updates, check out The Road to Washington website or its facebook page.

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