Environmentalists Against War
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News Release

March 18, 2003

CONTACT: Gar Smith, 510-843-3343
China Brotsky, 415-561-6337

Environmentalists Oppose Iraq War

Coalition Launches New Website

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Environmentalists Against War, a coalition of environmental organizations opposed to a U.S. attack on Iraq, has just launched a new website to raise awareness of the ecological costs of a second Gulf War. The site – www.EnvirosAgainstWar.org – contains dozens of articles and reports, links to campaigns and organizations, and action tools for the public.

"The first Gulf War was the biggest environmental disaster in recent history," said Gar Smith, former editor of Earth Island Journal and a spokesperson for Environmentalists Against War. "Unfortunately, with advances in military technology, a new Gulf War has the potential to be even worse."

Such a thought does not rest well, considering these facts about the 1991 Gulf War:

  • More than 60 million gallons of crude oil – 6 times what the Exxon Valdez spilled off the shores of Alaska – were released into the environment, tarnishing 1,500 miles of coast and scarring the desert with 246 "lakes" of congealed oil.
  • More than 700 oil wells burned out of control for nine months, producing toxic clouds that blocked the sun and spread for thousands of miles.
  • U.S. forces fired nearly a million rounds of depleted uranium (DU) bullets and shells, leaving 300 tons of DU scattered across Kuwait and southern Iraq.
  • Approximately 800,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly children, have died from the lingering consequences of the war, including contamination of air, soil and water, and destruction of vital infrastructure, such as water and sewage treatment plants.

"As organizations and individuals working for the environment and environmental justice, we have watched with increasing concern as the US government moves closer to an all-out attack on Iraq," said China Brotsky, a co-author of the 1991 report War in the Gulf: An Environmental Perspective. "During the first Gulf War there was considerable discussion about its environmental impacts, but this time around the dialogue has been virtually nonexistent. Our goal is to raise awareness and encourage positive action."

A coalition statement titled "10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq" has been endorsed by more than 80 organizations, including Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute, The Ecologist and Rainforest Action Network.

"All our signers realize that war will have devastating environmental impacts," said Gar Smith. "We encourage people to visit our website to learn more about the issues and what they can do."

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