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June 27, 2008

Maintain the Moratorium

The Supreme Court’s decision this week to reduce Exxon Mobil’s payout brought with it memories and images of the 1989 spill, whose effects are still being felt by ecosystems, marine life, and people. I was still in single digits when the spill happened, so reading about it was a clear wake-up call that a similar disaster could be just over the horizon unless we do something.In the coming weeks, Congress is expected to vote on a measure that would lift the moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, unnecessarily opening up new areas of the sea to oil companies. Since 1981 the United States has held a moratorium on oil and gas development in parts of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It has protected the oceans from industrialization, and the high cost of gas ought not change that. Oil companies don’t need access to more areas; in fact, they are currently only producing oil from 18 percent of the areas they own. According to the Department of Energy, even if they were able to drill in the OCS, it would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.Yes, it’s painful to fill up your gas tank these days, but that’s no reason to sacrifice the health of our ocean ecosystems. Please take action now by telling your Representative to keep the drills off our coasts.