Hearing Citizens Impassioned Pleas, Oil Spill Commissioner Pledges to Address Health Issues
New Orleans January 12, 2011
Cherri Foytlin has been given some bad news about her health.
The mother of six co-founded the grassroots group Gulf Change in response to the BP disaster. She recently learned her blood has alarming levels of ethylbenzyne, a chemical found in crude oil. Cherri made an impassioned plea directly to commissioner Frances Beinecke (who is also the President of the Natural Resources Defense Council), to be an ongoing advocate for the health of Gulf Coast communities, even though the commission has finished its job.
Cherri Foytlin: Today I’m talking to you about my life.
My ethylbenzyne levels are 2.5 times the 95th percentile, and there’s a very good chance now that I won’t get to see my grandbabies…
What I’m asking you to do now, if possible, is to amend [your report]. Because we have got to get some health care.
I have seen small children with lesions all over their bodies. We are very, very ill.
And dead is dead. So it really doesn’t matter if the media comes back… or the President hears us, or… if the oil workers and the fishermen and the crabbers get to feed their babies and maybe have a good Christmas next year… Dead is dead…
I know your job is probably already done, but I’d like to hire you if you don’t mind. And God knows I can’t pay you. But I need your heart. And I need your voice. And I need you to come to that table. And I need you to insist that Feinberg and anybody else that needs to be in on that conversation comes too. And I’m asking you that today. And I would like you to say yes to me today. While you look me in the eye, please say yes you’ll come to my table.
Frances Beinecke: Yes. And... I pledge that we will take [these health issues] back to the White House.
Cherri: Thank you.
Sounds like everything is just wonderful after the BP Oil Spill and those clean beaches and safe Gulf seafood are fine and dandy according to our governors and yes men. So ya'll come on down here, bring lots of money to spend and get yourselves some ethylbenzene too.