Saturday, April 3, 2010

SOS! Opposes Obama on Offshore Drilling

April 3, 2010 - Earlier this week President Barack Obama unveiled a proposal to open vast expanses of the Atlantic coastline, Gulf of Mexico, and the Northern coast of Alaska to new offshore drilling.

"Save Our Shores is shocked that President Obama has promised to substantially increase offshore oil and gas drilling along Florida's coasts," said Judson Parker, director of SOS! Florida. "During his campaign, he made a promise to the state of Florida that as long as he was president, he would not support oil companies coming and drilling off our coasts. This is a big renege on Obama’s part and the environmental community is very upset about it.”

There is no need to threaten our beaches, wildlife and tourism with oil spills and pollution when we have many better solutions -- increasing home energy efficiency, increasing fuel economy standards for new cars, and reducing our production and consumption of petroleum-based plastics (over 2 million barrels of oil are used in the United States each day for the production of new plastics).

The risks associated with drilling far outweigh any of the promises of short-term gains (which are also factually incorrect - it would take at least 10 years to begin any significant new production):

In August 2009 a new, "state-of-the-art" oil rig off the Australian coast spilled an estimated 9 million gallons of oil, nearly the size of the Exxon Valdez spill;
Drilling endangers tourism as well as commercial and recreational fishing, which employ over 4 million people around the country and generated almost $51 billion in Florida and the mid- and South- Atlantic alone in 2008;
Drilling in the Atlantic threatens calving grounds for the rare Northern right whale, endangered sea turtles and their nesting grounds, deep coral reefs, manatees, migration paths for numerous other whales and dolphins, and many more.
At best, new offshore drilling could meet only a tiny fraction of U.S. daily consumption (around 3%).

There is a line drawn in the sand between those who want to drill and those who know better. It is unfortunate that President Obama has decided to ally himself with those who would see our beaches and coastal areas despoiled all for a few fleeting dollar bills.

Photo Credit: Chris Twomey - August 28, 2009, West Atlas (north Australia) oil spill.