Although oil may have stopped spewing from BP’s blown well in the Gulf of Mexico, the battle to combat its effects on wildlife populations will continue for years to come. Calling wetland habitat and wildlife “the voiceless and voteless victims of the Deepwater Horizons tragedy,” the Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge and support groups from other National Wildlife Refuges in New Mexico have contributed $2,850 to a national fund for immediate relief.
Concurrently, the nonprofit Friends groups have sent a joint letter to BP Managing Director Robert Dudley challenging the oil giant publicly to accept full financial responsibility for this long-term effort to restore wildlife and habitat.
The financial aid from support groups in New Mexico was sent to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, which will distribute the money for use by Friends groups at refuges stricken by the oil spill. Oil from the spill threatens or has impacted 36 National Wildlife Refuges in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, in addition to the adverse effects on hundreds of miles of other coastline and wetland habitat. Friends of Las Vegas NWR contributed $350, and it is soliciting additional funds from members and refuge visitors for a further contribution in December. “Friends” groups at Bosque del Apache and Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuges contributed $2,500.
The letter to BP was signed by the presidents of all the Friends groups associated with New Mexico NWRs (Bosque del Apache, Bitter Lake, Las Vegas and Sevilleta). “Right now,” the letter notes, “the costs of dealing with oil spill effects on wildlife and habitat in these refuges are being borne by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and by volunteer groups associated with individual refuges. Limited contributions and volunteer resources from Friends groups around the country are being pooled to address oil spill impacts on Gulf Area refuges. These efforts are being coordinated by The National Wildlife Refuge Association.
We, however, believe the ultimate moral and fiscal responsibility for remediating the effects of the Gulf oil spill (on wildlife) lies with BP and the costs should be borne by BP.
Friends of the LV National Wildlife Refuge