Ted Danson, award-winning actor, longtime ocean advocate and Oceana board member, urged the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources today to protect our oceans and climate from the threats of offshore drilling. In his testimony, Danson called on Congress to quickly reinstate the moratorium on offshore drilling, which was allowed to lapse in 2008.
"Oil and water simply don't mix," said Danson. "While not intentional, oil spills do happen and they harm everything from the smallest ocean organisms to the largest predators in the sea."
Danson appealed to the Committee, led by Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), that the threats facing the Arctic Ocean will demand a separate and distinct planning process and that we should stop offshore oil and gas activities in the region until there is a comprehensive science-based conservation and energy plan.
Danson reported that approximately 120 million gallons of oil are discharged into the world's oceans each year from platforms, marine transportation, vessel discharges and accidents. "Offshore drilling only looks good from an oil executive's office," added Danson.
Offshore oil drilling will have little if any impact on gas prices. Danson cited figures from the U.S. Energy Information Agency which show that even at peak production, increased drilling offshore would produce less than one percent of the current energy demand in the U.S. "This is merely pennies at the gas pump," said Danson.
Danson also stressed the importance of a speedy transition from fossil fuels to renewable, clean and carbon-free energy, such as offshore wind and solar power. According to recent estimates, the offshore wind industry could generate nearly $950 billion in economic activity and more than 250,000 jobs over the next 20 years. [i]
"We need to work with the oceans, not against them," said Dr. Michael Hirshfield, senior vice president for North America and chief scientist at Oceana. "The oceans can be a valuable resource in facing the global warming and energy crisis'."
For more than 20 years, Danson has worked to protect the oceans. Danson co-founded the American Oceans Campaign (AOC), which merged in 2001 with Oceana, the largest international organization focused solely on protecting and restoring the world's oceans.
Oceana, along with a diverse coalition of conservation organizations, recently called on President Obama and the 111th Congress to reinstate the offshore drilling moratorium and establish a rational policy for protecting our oceans and coasts from the impacts of offshore drilling for oil and gas. To read the conservation coalition's statement, please click here.
For more information and to view the hearing, please visit http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/. For more information about Ted Danson, please click here. To learn more about Oceana, please visit http://www.oceana.org/.
[i] Rigas, Nicholas (2008). "An Offshore Wind Power Industrial Cluster for South Carolina." [http://api.ning.com/files/785CrAzQ1nZRgkZIjhb7jRyCqZph3EbbS0fgTUcliTW73I.... Accessed 2/3/09.