Stop Drilling Off Rhode Island's Coast
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The Trump administration has announced plans to open up vast areas of our oceans to new offshore drilling, INCLUDING the waters off Rhode Island.
This proposal will put countless birds at risk, especially seabirds and shorebirds, and the sensitive coastal ecosytems which they require.
Rhode Island's economy depends on our shores and ocean resources for fishing, tourism and many other engines of economic growth. Under the plan, all the acres of offshore waters and sensitive ecosystems in Rhode Island would be open to new drilling.
This plan will expose birds, other wildlife, and coastal communities to unacceptable risk. Millions of birds depend on these offshore waters and nearby shorelines for feeding, migrating, and nesting. Seabirds and shorebirds are particularly vulnerable to oil spills, including endangered species like Piping Plovers. Even a small amount of oil can be fatal to birds.
After the Cape North oil spill on the coast of Rhode Island in January 1996, oil from the spill caused a large number of deaths in wildlife such as birds, lobsters, surf clams and sea stars. Over 2000 birds were killed, one of these species being the piping plover, a federally listed threatened species (according to the "Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program" U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, November 2013).
After the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an estimated one million birds were killed.
Instead, the final plan should maintain the exclusions for the areas left off limits under the previous plan, including in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans and Eastern Gulf. Millions of U.S. residents and hundreds of businesses supported these exclusions because of the value of maintaining clean shorelines and oceans for people and wildlife. Coastal counties contribute nearly half of the nation’s GDP and support millions of jobs due to tourism and recreation--jobs that would be at risk from new offshore drilling.
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