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Women Of The Storm Clarifies 'Restore The Gulf' Campaign After Sandra Bullock Temporarily Withdraws Support

First Posted: 07/29/10 07:11 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:15 PM ET

Sandra Bullock has temporarily withdrawn her support from a campaign called Restore The Gulf after questions about its connections to oil companies arose last week.

Bullock and other celebrities, including Peyton Manning and Lenny Kravitz, appeared in a PSA called "Be The One" urging individuals to "demand that a plan to restore America's Gulf be fully funded and implemented for me and future generations."

The controversy arose when DeSmogBlog.com posted a story connecting Women of the Storm, the group that initiated the Restore The Gulf campaign, with America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF), which encourages the protection of Louisiana's fastly disappearing wetlands. Though conceived by the state of Louisiana, AWF has a number of corporate sponsors, including Shell, Chevron, Citgo and BP.

The DeSmogBlog post accused the oil companies as having influenced Women of the Storm and the creation of the PSA. They also accused AWF of spreading "the message that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the damage caused by BP to Gulf Coast wetlands"

In response to these allegations, both Women of the Storm and AWF released statements to rebut the claims made on DeSmogBlog. AWF has a "point-by-point rebuttal" available for download through their website.

As The Huffington Post's Sam Stein reported, and as Women of the Storm confirmed to HuffPost Impact, America's WETLAND Foundation has not made any financial contributions to Women of the Storm and had no influence over the making of the Restore The Gulf PSA.

"America's WETLAND had no involvement," Diana Pinckley, a member of Women of the Storm's executive committee, said, "and not even an opportunity to see the video before it was launched during our news conference on July 20."

These responses aside, many in the environmental movement maintain their criticisms and emphasize that the partnership between Women of the Storm and America's WETLAND Foundation may not be so benign.

Writers Brendan DeMelle and Jerry Cope pointed out on The Huffington Post last week that the intention of the "Be The One" campaign is to encourage the federal government "devise and fully fund a plan to restore the Gulf," thereby using taxpayer money to pay for cleanup, not BP's.

They also find a conflict of interest in the personal relationship between the two groups. Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm, is married to AWF chairman R. King Milling.

Bullock's publicist told Think Progress that her involvement with the campaign would be severed "until the facts can be determined." The Bullock camp has not yet issued any further statements regarding the PSA or Restore The Gulf.

WATCH the original PSA:


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Filed by Jonathan Daniel Harris  |