Long Island Reps. Steve Israel, Peter King and Tim Bishop sent a letter on Friday to Mr. Lamar McKay, Chairman and President of BP America, Inc., requesting that BP develop and implement a comprehensive plan to address the potential consequences of the Deepwater Horizon spill reaching the coastline of New York.
The Congressmen also sent a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asking that NOAA forecast and model the possibility of the oil reaching the New York coastline. Earlier this week, NOAA confirmed that oil had entered a current that could bring the effects of the spill to the East Coast of the United States.
"The bottom line is, no one knows if New York could be harmed by this or not. But there are too many coastal jobs at stake for us to just wait and see. We need to be prepared," said Rep. Israel.
Below is the letter sent to BP.
Dear Mr. McKay:
As Long Island representatives, we are deeply concerned that complex ocean currents may bring oil or other negative consequences from the massive Deepwater Horizon spill to the unspoiled coasts of New York and the Fire Island National Seashore.
The potential consequences of the catastrophe in the Gulf Coast region must be addressed with cautionary planning, and BP should establish preventative measures to protect our coastline and natural resources. As your company is ultimately responsible for swift resolution of this crisis, we ask that BP America identify a strategy and resources to limit the environmental and economic damages to New York and the surrounding region.
Long Island's economy relies on the preservation of our waters and coastal wetlands. Our fisheries, tourism, and recreation industries would suffer immeasurably if the oil were to reach New York's coastline. The Long Island Sound alone contributes an estimated $8 billion per year to the regional economy from commercial fishing, sport fishing, and recreational activities and the National Park Service estimates that 2.2 million people visit Fire Island annually with approximately 820,000 people enjoying Fire Island beaches each summer. The presence of oil or other negative effects of the spill on the coast of Fire Island would deter visitors and decimate the local economy.
Therefore, we ask that BP America develop and implement a comprehensive plan to address the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill reaching the coastline of New York.
Thank you for your immediate attention to our request.