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Gulf Coast group advocates renewable energy

By Rebecca Thiele, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – A Gulf Coast environmentalist group is using the BP oil spill in an effort to fuel support for renewable energy.

Gulf Voices held a discussion Thursday in St. Louis, stressing that the oil gusher affects more than just the Gulf. Rick Roberts, who belongs to an environmental angler organization, said the spill is a sign that the U.S. needs to reduce their dependence on oil.

"We need clean energy," said Roberts. "We need to be moving in that direction now, not tomorrow and not next week. And if this doesn't do it, what in the hell will?"

Members of the group argue the spill is hurting the national economy as seafood sales and tourism in the Gulf continue to decline.

Linda Hawkins is a member of the Nature Conservancy and a Louisiana native. She said because of the spill, Gulf states are unable to sell their main exports.

"Louisiana actually ranks number one in providing all the shrimp, number one in the country," said Hawkins. "We don't have any more shrimp."

The group previously visited Maine and Washington D.C. and is headed to Virginia and Arkansas.

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