Whether you volunteer, report oil-slicked wildlife, write to Congress, donate money or boycott BP, there are several actions you can take in response to the unprecedented BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here are a few ways to help.
1. Report Injured Wildlife and Oiled Beaches – If you live along the Gulf Coast and spot oil damage or wildlife in need of help, the government has set up these hotlines (along with a Website):
To report oiled wildlife: 1-866-557-1401 (Leave a message; they will be checked hourly.)
To report oil spill related damage: 1-800-440-0858
To report oiled shoreline: 1-866-448-5816
2. Volunteer – Volunteers must be trained to be effective, and to avoid health problems that can result from handling oil and oiled wildlife. BP is paying many people to respond to the oil spill, and those workers typically include locals put out of work by the spill. So think twice before you “volunteer” because you don’t want to take work away from a shrimper or a fishermen put out of work – possibly for years – by the spill. That said, the task of cleaning up, laying booms and cleansing what wildlife can be found is enormous.
3. Donate – While BP has pledged to pay all legitimate claims made in relation to the oil spill, the groups working in the area need immediate support (and there’s no guarantee BP will pay every claim victims feel is worthy, especially since U.S. law caps some expenses at $75 million).