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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4 — “As BP's oil slick grows in the Gulf of Mexico, it's time to take action to protect all of America's waters — offshore and onshore — from future catastrophe.

“President Obama must permanently ban new offshore drilling to take our coastal communities, economies and the environment out of harm's way. Now is the time for Obama to lead us to a new energy economy by ending our dangerous dependence on oil, and implementing a transition to fossil-fuel free technology to meet our energy and transportation needs.

“Sadly, offshore oil spills are not the only disasters looming as a result of our addiction to fossil fuels. Onshore, some 2 million oil and gas wells have been drilled, many with harmful impacts to the surrounding water, land and air; all exempt from our country's most important environmental laws. With precious few oil and gas inspectors, the unfortunate and dangerous reality is that America's oil and gas industry is largely self-regulated.

“The extent of BP's oil spill disaster shows the devastating consequences of drilling gone wrong. The time for trust is over. We can no longer allow this industry to monitor itself when our nation's waters are at risk. Regulations must be strengthened and loopholes must be closed, starting permanently banning offshore oil drilling, and cancelling the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption currently enjoyed by oil and gas developers.

“We do not need to endanger our water, air, wildlife and communities for every last drop of oil. It is time to put an end to the oil and gas industry's stranglehold on American politics and invest instead in a clean and renewable energy future.”

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EARTHWORKS is dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mining, digging and drilling, in the U.S. and worldwide.