Don’t Let the Senate Sneak Offshore Drilling into the Climate Change Bill
News reports are saying that the Senate is considering opening previously protected areas to offshore oil drilling as part of a “trade” to get a climate change bill passed.
Offshore drilling is not only counterproductive to the goal of stopping global warming, it poses serious threats to our oceans and coasts. Even the most advanced drilling technologies aren’t safe enough to prevent major oil spills. Just this year in Australia a two year-old offshore oil rig started leaking oil at an estimated rate of 400 - 2,000 barrels per day for 74 days and caused the country’s third largest oil spill.
This is not a scene we want to repeat on America’s coasts. Energy and climate legislation should decrease pollution in our air, and should not pollute our oceans in the process.
So as the Senate pieces together its climate legislation, we ocean supporters need to raise our voices to ensure that new expanded offshore drilling is not part of the package. Tell your Senators that our oceans must not be compromised, especially not in a bill intended to address the climate change problem.
I am writing today to urge you to protect our oceans and coasts from offshore oil drilling. For more than 25 years, the United States has protected our coasts by keeping much of our offshore waters out of the hands of the oil companies. Last year, these protections were unfortunately allowed to lapse. Now it is up to Congress to ensure that our vital marine resources are managed responsibly and that no new areas are opened to offshore drilling.
The threat to our ocean, coasts and wildlife is too great to allow more oil drilling in our oceans. Additionally, in the face of climate change, more drilling makes even less sense. Producing and burning more oil produces more carbon dioxide which fuels ocean acidification. Not only are our coasts and oceans home to fish and marine wildlife, but they also generate jobs in a variety of sectors such as fishing and tourism.
Energy and climate legislation is intended to decrease pollution in our air, and should not pollute our oceans in the process. The Senate energy bill has already put the eastern Gulf of Mexico on the table despite a 2006 agreement to protect that area until 2022. Please keep new offshore drilling language out of the final bill. I strongly urge you not support any legislation that threatens our coasts with expanded offshore drilling.
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