Saturday, May 1, 2010
A few years ago, 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 hurricanes from offshore facilities. Many of us knew that a catastrophic spill, one that could close down fisheries and coastal tourism and result in the deaths of thousands of marine animals, was a real possibility.
Unfortunately, that possibility has become reality.
Today, the oil slick is beginning to reach the Louisiana shoreline, threatening fragile wetlands and the Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Some of the oil is even expected to make its way into the mouth of the Mississippi river, where it has the potential to travel upstream, wreaking havoc miles away from the Gulf of Mexico. As the oil advances into the marshes of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, we can expect oyster and shrimp beds, fisheries, and hatching grounds for seaturtles and shorebirds alike to be devastated. And the destruction and suffering will not end quickly. Oil from the Exxon Valdez spill is still harming marine wildlife in Alaska's Prince William Sound over 21 years later.
President Obama took many of us aback when he announced his plan for new offshore drilling last month. In fact, even as the spill has expanded to cover 2000 square miles of ocean, Obama has maintained his position, saying "I continue to believe that (offshore) domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy."
In the wake of the Gulf disaster, Obama has a unique opportunity to reverse his position, take leadership, and stop new offshore drilling, which is undeniably dangerous and environmentally unsafe.
SOS! is calling on the President to do everything possible to stop and clean up this spill, and to hold BP accountable for the damage done. Above and beyond this, we have to address the root of the problem - and that is America's addiction to oil. Instead of opening up miles of our coastline to seismic exploration and offshore drilling, we should be investing in cleaner, smarter choices like energy efficiency and renewable energy. Our environment and our coastal economy cannot afford the risk of new oil development. President Obama, it's time to reinstate the moratorium and ban new drilling off America's shores!
Here are some ways you can help with the campaign:
Donate. We need funding to run information campaigns, pay for oil spill cleanup materials, and to organize citizens across the state. Follow this link to give: http://www.sosfla.org/2009/12/donate.html
Write a letter to your elected officials. Simply follow the link below and enter your address. You’ll be able to send an e-mail or a printed letter to your senators, representatives, and the Governor: Contact your elected officials.
Write a letter to the editor. Letters of support to your local newspapers are an easy way to educate the public about offshore drilling and to influence the opinions of local decision-makers. Here is the contact information for several major state newspapers:
The Miami Herald
The Orlando Sentinel
The St. Petersburg Times
The Tallahassee Democrat
Tampa Bay Online
Daytona Beach News Journal