Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stopping Offshore Drilling

Not On Our Beaches. 

Offshore oil drilling is not the answer to higher gas prices or a real long term solution to American energy demands. While drillers may have something to gain, we can all be sure it is at the expense of coastal residents, beach tourists, sea turtles, manatees, migratory birds, and other sensitive marine life. America needs real energy solutions, not more pandering to oil profiteers.

Oil Rigs: A Risk We Cannot Afford.

At each stage of testing, exploration, and production, the oil and gas business produces contaminated water, uses toxic drilling muds, and periodically spills oil and toxic liquids into the ocean.  Pollutants like mercury and persistent hydrocarbons contaminate fish and sea life near platforms and massive spills kill seabirds, sea turtles, fish and marine mammals.
                 
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed over 100 drilling rigs and platforms and over 450 pipelines. The Minerals Management Service estimated almost one million gallons spilled during the hurricane from offshore facilities; the Coast Guard documented an estimated nine million gallons from onshore and offshore oil facilities were spilled. A catastrophic spill, one that could close down coastal tourism for weeks or months, is a real possibility.
                       
Oil drilling proponents say we have no choice, given rising oil and gas prices. They’re wrong: If our cars and trucks got an average of a couple more miles per gallon, we’d save more oil than exists off the entire coasts of Florida, California, and the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. Instead of allowing oil companies to drill off our coasts, our congressional delegation should be leading the fight in Washington for better gas mileage and clean energy.

Let’s Stop The Rush To Drill.

The oil lobby would like us to believe that we can drill our way out of our nation’s energy problems. We’re not buying it. Opening our shores to drilling would only put our beaches and coastal waters at great risk for a small, short-term supply of oil and gas. Our congressional representatives know this, but they’re facing enormous pressure to take action against rising energy prices. Caving into the oil lobby would give them a chance to appear strong and decisive.

Unfortunately for us, though, we’d still face a long-term energy crisis while our environment and economy would face new risks due to the pollution and potential for catastrophic spills off our coast.We need to tell our leaders to stop the rush to drill and start pushing sensible choices like using less oil by increasing fuel economy and increasing funding for public transportation.

Drilling Facts:

Drilling offshore will not lower gas prices one cent. For every barrel of oil we produce domestically, OPEC will reduce output to compensate.
Offshore Drilling requires massive tax subsidies. Without tax handouts from the government, oil companies cannot get enough investors interested in new drilling projects. Let’s say NO to corporate welfare.
Even with modern technology, drilling is not safe. A “modern” rig in the Timor Sea, 100 miles north of Australia, has been spilling 2,000 barrels of oil a day for the past 3 months: enough to cover 5,800 square miles of ocean. The company responsible wants to drill within 3 miles of our beaches.
The losers here are millions of coastal residents, beach tourists, sea turtles, manatees, birds, fish, and other marine life.
Instead of investing in old, dirty technology, we should be investing in our huge potential for clean energy. We can eventually meet 100% of our needs with renewable sources. 

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