Working to keep the West special

Special Places at Risk in the Gulf of Mexico

On May 26, 2010, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report on the special places around the Gulf of Mexico threatened by oil from the British Petroleum/Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout. The report identifies 15 national and state parks and wildlife areas at risk of oil contamination, and documents the resources that are in peril.

Those resources include much of what makes the Gulf of Mexico such an environmentally rich area: fish and fishing, beaches and wetlands, coral reefs, and many of the wildlife species so important to Americans, including critically threatened whooping cranes and sea turtles, manatees, and bottlenose dolphins.

The top 15 parks and wildlife areas identified in our report are:

Breton National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area, Louisiana
Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi and Florida
Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi and Alabama
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Everglades National Park, Florida
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Florida
Key West National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Our list of the top 15 was chosen to include the best examples of the full range of both the protected coastal public areas and the resources within them that are vulnerable to contamination by the BP disaster.

This report is not intended to raise useless alarm but to galvanize action. The BP oil catastrophe is today's overwhelming demonstration of the dangers of America's over-dependence on and over-use of fossil fuels. Besides oil spills, those dangers include emissions of heat-trapping gases that are disrupting our climate, other air pollution that causes deaths and illnesses, high energy costs that undercut our national and personal economies, and even increased risks to our national security. The disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is a powerful reason, one among many, for us to shift to safer, cleaner, cheaper, and more secure energy resources. Ultimately, making such a transformation is the only sure way to reduce the chances of another catastrophe, in the Gulf or elsewhere, like the BP oil blowout and its potentially devastating effects on special places that we Americans hold so dear.


The news release announcing the report

The full report -- 19 MB (large file!)