An Update on the Gulf Delegation's Visit to DC and New York City

So much is happening so quickly, that I am finding it hard to keep up in my writings. Please bear with me.

The subject of this blog is concerning the D.C. meetings that were held on August 25 with a delegation of citizens leaders from the Gulf of Mexico and federal governemental entities.

The first meeting of the day was with the Federal Economic Development Agency. We were fortunate enough to meet with an Alabama boy who was very interested in what we had to say, and how the EDA could help.

Attendees to that meeting were: Mr. Paul Nelson - who is struggling to keep his business going and who has worked tirelessly in defense of the fishing industry as a whole, Mandi Thompson - who works independently on funding concerning issues within coastal organizations, Michelle Chauncy - who has not received one interim payment since the disaster and who now stands to lose at least her business all together (perhaps more), John Gooding - who is an expert wood craftsman (best I have ever seen actually) and who has been struggling financially due to economic and health related issues since the “spill”, and Johanna Polsberg - with Gulf Restoration Network, who we owe a great debt of gratitude for setting up all the meetings in DC for us on that day.

I will not go into the entire discussion, just know that the Gulf delegates brought truth to the ears of the EDA (and in all meetings that day) in a cohesive, accurate, intelligent and heartfelt way. It was undeniable that the need is great here.

In response to the meeting, the EDA has committed to acting on behalf of Coastal citizens who are experiencing delays in response and payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, (after receiving from us a full report complete with statistics - which we are working on now - help is needed!). Meaning, they will approach the GCCF on our behalf to address continuing economic concerns. This is huge.

Also, the EDA, has committed to providing a series of meetings regarding grants and loans available to those in the Gulf, as well as education on how to write applications for such, with the best opportunity for effectiveness.

The following meeting was with the National Insititute of Health Services’ NIEHS branch, concerning the 10 year study on workers who cleaned up the spill. Besides those people listed above, also in attendance were: Chuck Brady, Charles Taylor, Aaron Viles, Bryan Parras, Drew Landry, Karen Savage, Fritzi Presley, Andre Gaines and more. Each person gave testimony as to their, or their loved ones’, symptoms, as well as, the lack of health care readily available here.

Mary Gant gave us further information on the study; as well, as possible health effects. The most significant of information being the info regarding DNA affects after exposure. It is obvious, that there is a significant lack of information concerning the toxic chemicals used on the spill and their effect on our bodies.

She also stated that there is “no way,” for our symptoms to be shown scientifically or medically to directly be related to the DWH event or our contact with those chemicals used. Which is a severe problem, due to the fact the GCCF and Feinberg, who has paid 0 claims regarding health to date, is citing that a doctor must make that connection in order for our people to find recompense on this issue regarding already accumulating medical costs or future medical needs.

The last meeting of the day was with every Gulf delegate and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (including John Hankinson), the Center for Disease Control, Health and Human Services, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ect.

A consortium is now being formed which will include 4 Gulf-based universities, area hospitals, non-governmental organizations and NIH. This is a great thing. This is the first step in tracking information regarding health from the spill and may well lead, with proper vigilance, to health related legislation and action to that concern, (according to 911 first responders it was their first step toward that end).

In addition, throughout that meeting a VERY clear message was given by all governmental entities in attendance. We have got to petition our states to act, and re-act, on our behalf regarding the health issues that have arisen after the catastrophe.

Although there are many of them who wish to help us, yet due to state sovereignty, the state entities must elicit a need from the federal agencies in order for them to respond.

So that is where we will go.

Plans are being made now, to approach the Gulf states in no uncertain terms in order to activate them on our behalf. Please stay tuned, and involved, on how you can help with this important mission, starting with this event called Civil Disobedience 2011 Style because “The Oil is Still here and So Are We.” - further information is forthcoming. For now, please go and check attending, on behalf of the people and ecosystem of the Gulf Coast.

There is still much work to do, and all voices and hands are needed. The extent of people now coming forth for help is becoming overwhelming.

As for New York, several members of the delegation traveled forward to meet and interview with "Democracy Now!"- please look for that upcoming interview. We also met with a representative from a non-profit world health organization who has committed to sending support in the very near future. More info, regarding that, as it beomes available.

Finally, an event was held in NY called Soul Fire4 the Gulf, which was a great concert, benefit, and prayer assembly with Dr. John, Drew Landry and more. Getting info out passed the Gulf and squarely in the hands of the court of public opinion is one of the most important things that we can do right now. This was a great step in informing, educating and including the people of New York with regards to our concerns and battles. Thanks to all who organized and attended.

I would like to express my immense gratitude and respect to the Gulf delegation, which held representative from AL, MS, LA and TX, for all of their hard work and sacrifice in attending the D.C. and NY events. Brave and vigilant souls all, and I am proud to know them.

God Bless the Gulf.