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After the Spill: Interfaith Community Launches Long-Term Gulf Restoration Project

Rabbi Saperstein: "Five years after Hurricane Katrina and six months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, people of faith remain committed to restoring the Gulf Coast."

Contact: Eric Harris or Rachel Cohen
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 14, 2010 -- As the six-month anniversary of the BP oil disaster approaches, the Religious Action Center is launching After the Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf, an interfaith oil spill response and Gulf Coast restoration campaign. Announcing the project, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center, released the following statement:

When I visited Myrtle Grove, Louisiana this summer and met with the fishermen and the faith leaders most impacted by the oil disaster, I pledged that the religious community would play a central role in the long-term restoration and renewal of the Gulf Coast. Six months into the oil spill crisis, I am proud that the Reform Movement is living up to this commitment by launching After the Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf.

After the Spill is a joint effort of Jewish and Christian communities who share the belief that we are called to protect God's creation and to speak out for justice for our brethren in times of crisis. Though each of our organizations is already engaged in Gulf restoration efforts, we know how much work remains to be done and how much more efficient and effective we will be when we work together. We are proud to have Rachel Cohen, our Sustainability Program Coordinator, directing this project, building on her knowledge of energy and environmental issues and her strength as an interfaith coalition-builder. We are also thankful to the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Jewish Funds for Justice, the United Methodist Church and all our other partners in this effort.

This oil spill is an unparalleled environmental and economic challenge, and we are just beginning to understand its long-term impacts. Five years after Hurricane Katrina and six months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, people of faith remain committed to restoring the Gulf Coast. We will not leave the 20 million residents of the Gulf Coast to rebuild alone, and we will work tirelessly to keep this issue in the public eye and atop the political agenda. Together, we continue to call on our government and the oil industry to respond to the immediate needs of those suffering in the Gulf and, crucially, begin paving the way to a clean and sustainable future while ensuring that those who depend on the oil industry for their daily survival are not left behind. And we continue to act as partners in these efforts.

To engage people of faith across North America in this work, we will continue to develop the worship and advocacy resources on afterthespill.com, partner directly with communities and organizations in the Gulf, and add a moral voice to the conversation around long-term recovery and restoration. The faith community is united in response to this environmental and economic justice disaster, and we are working actively to build a more sustainable future in the Gulf and around the world. Together we will ensure that the people of Gulf, and all those working with them, are not forgotten.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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