Oceana Calls for End to New Offshore Drilling
Press Release Date: April 30, 2010
Location: Washington, D.C.
International ocean conservation organization Oceana issued the following statement today amidst the unfolding environmental catastrophe facing the Gulf of Mexico.
“As the grim tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico unfolds, our hearts go out to the families of the eleven workers who lost their lives on the Deepwater Horizon and to those who were injured. We also fear for the thousands of fishermen and others dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods who now wait helplessly to learn their fates. More and more jobs will likely be lost and critical ecosystems impaired as crude continues to gush into the Gulf. While it is too late to avert the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it is not too late to learn from it, or to put those lessons to work. We must take immediate action and put in place long-term policies that value the long-term health of coastal communities and ecosystems ahead of the interests of the oil lobby and short-term profits. Doing so means stopping planned drilling in Alaska and other areas open for drilling and reinstating protections that prevented drilling in the remaining U.S. ocean waters.
Despite the oil industry’s statements, events like this one will happen again unless we act to prevent them. It is time for the U.S. to recognize that the risks of offshore drilling far outweigh any benefits. We must stop ignoring government studies showing clearly that expanded offshore drilling does nothing for the consumer: it does not lower the price of gasoline and it will not make us energy independent. As we watch the response efforts in the Gulf, and try to imagine the sheer magnitude of oil gushing from the bottom of the ocean with no end in sight, it is clear that our ability to find oil far outstrips our ability to respond to a blowout.
We must prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. For these reasons, Oceana is calling on President Obama to stop all new drilling. This means reinstating the protections that were in place for more than 20 years for the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. It also means reconsidering decisions to allow Shell to drill exploration wells—just like the Deepwater Horizon—offshore in Alaska this summer, as well as similar decisions in other parts of the country. We likewise call on Congress to solidify U.S. policy on offshore drilling by passing a similar moratorium on expanded drilling. Science, precaution and a move to renewable energy should guide decisions about our oceans.
We appreciate statements calling for a halt to new drilling while the accident is investigated. Oil exploration and development is inherently risky and exceeds our ability both to prevent and respond to catastrophes like this one. We need to find a real and lasting solution to our energy needs, including a commitment to move in a more productive direction toward clean energy and end our addiction to oil.
Taking new drilling off the table will allow the Obama Administration and Congress to focus their resources on developing the clean energy future that will stimulate the U.S. economy while helping to address climate change. But most importantly, this action will help to prevent future oil accidents from taking more lives and destroying coastal economies and ocean ecosystems.”