The Deepwater Drilling Disaster continues without resolution, as the first reports of sea turtles washing up on shore are starting to trickle in, and local fishermen are reluctantly accepting jobs working as cleanup crew for the company that has ruined their livelihoods.
As the oil continues to gush from Deepwater’s broken pipe at rates that cannot be accurately determined, we are looking at an oil disaster that will surpass Exxon Valdez in a matter of weeks, if it hasn’t already.
But this tragedy has galvanized opposition to offshore drilling.
Two notable developments have taken place this week already. On Tuesday, I was honored to speak to press in the shadow of the Capitol alongside Senators Bill Nelson, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, as well as the executive directors of the Sierra Club and Environment America.
The senators called on President Obama to drop any plans for new offshore oil drilling. Senator Nelson even said he would filibuster any climate bill that allowed drilling.
These three senators have a strong history of opposing offshore drilling, and this tragedy has, sadly, validated their stance. Senator Menendez is now taking the lead on ending the oil industry’s liability limit in light of the disaster. This sends a strong message that oil companies must be accountable.
Additionally, Oceana called on the rest of the Senate to end new offshore drilling with a letter penned by our campaigners and signed by more than 60 other conservation organizations.
Thanks to the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, the United States has learned a valuable lesson about claims that offshore drilling is “safe.” Now, we are pushing hard to ensure this lesson doesn’t go unheeded by calling for a ban on all new drilling in US waters, including the Arctic.
I’ll have more for you later this week. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, if you haven’t already signed our petition to ask the Senate to say NO to offshore drilling, please do so today.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.