Oceana Encouraged by President Obama’s Offshore Drilling Decisions
Press Release Date: May 27, 2010
Location: Washington, D.C.
Oceana released the following statement, following an announcement by President Obama that he plans to suspend Arctic offshore drilling, cancel lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia, suspend activity on 33 exploratory wells and extend the moratorium on deepwater drilling for six months.
“Oceana is encouraged by today’s news about offshore oil drilling. Oceana thanks President Obama for his remarks regarding offshore drilling and remains hopeful that the ongoing ‘top kill’ strategy will prove successful in stopping oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico,” said senior pollution campaign director Jacqueline Savitz.
After weeks of bad news about the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster, this morning’s report that the ‘top kill’ is working couldn’t be more welcome. Once the oil flow is stopped, response crews can direct their full attention to cleanup of marine ecosystems, beaches and the restoration of coastal economies. The effects of the Deepwater disaster will not disappear when the well is capped. New preliminary estimates released today found that between 17 and 39 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf during the past month. We are just beginning to see some of the impacts on coastlines, fish and wildlife.
Today, the President, responding to the 30-day safety review of offshore drilling, announced that he would increase oversight of the oil industry; delay exploratory drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas; extend a moratorium on new deepwater drilling for six months; stop activity on 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico and cancel the upcoming Gulf of Mexico and Virginia lease sales.
“President Obama has now seen first hand the impacts that offshore drilling can have on oceans and coastal economies. The actions taken today are just the first steps. We are relieved that Arctic drilling is off the table this summer. We continue to call for an end to all offshore drilling, on every coast,” said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director.
“I am relieved by this decision,” said Caleb Pungowiyi, senior advisor and rural liaison for Oceana, who lives in Kotzebue, Alaska. “The thought that they would be drilling this summer put a lot of fear in many of the people living along the Arctic coast. We were worried about what it could do to our food source and way of life.”
Oceana is committed to ending all new offshore drilling in U.S. waters. We welcome the President’s announcement today. But we believe more must be done. The President and the Congress should enact a ban on all new offshore drilling, focusing instead on clean, renewable energy that does not put our oceans and coastal economies at risk.
Oceana is an international ocean conservation group that works to protect and restore the world’s oceans. For more information, visit www.oceana.org.