Change Agent Poet

Tell President Obama: No Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic

Oil spills could soon scar the United States East Coast and Arctic Ocean, if we don’t speak up. The Obama administration has released its draft five-year plan for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf, and huge swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean are included for potential development.

Once drilling starts, so will the spilling – toxic oil contaminating our oceans, harming wildlife and ocean-dependent industries. The specter of a disaster like BP Deepwater Horizon would loom large.

And all of this suffering is completely unnecessary. An Oceana report released earlier this month showed that offshore wind in the Atlantic would produce twice as much energy and twice as many jobs as offshore drilling. The Arctic’s harsh conditions have proved companies are not ready to operate safely there with some even walking away from leases they bought over the last decade.

We must act now to keep the threat of new offshore drilling from becoming a reality.

Make your voice heard – Sign our petition to tell President Obama to keep new offshore drilling out of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Oceana will submit this petition and your signature to the five-year plan’s comment period.

Dear President Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper,

Please do not permit offshore drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean off the United States East Coast or in the United States Arctic Ocean as currently proposed in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) draft 2017 to 2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

The Atlantic Ocean has long been spared from the dangerous threats posed by offshore drilling and must retain these important protections. Drilling in the Atlantic would expose marine wildlife, and important industries that depend on healthy oceans, to unprecedented risk. As many as 138,000 dolphins and whales could be harmed by seismic blasting. Once drilling begins, spills will inevitably follow.

The effects of the BP disaster are still being felt in the Gulf. And the root causes of this tragedy are still largely unresolved. To needlessly expose the East Coast to the threat of oil extraction and spills is short-sighted and irresponsible. Oil spills do not follow state lines. Offshore drilling and the risk of spills in any of the proposed states, is a risk to neighboring states even if they do not want drilling.

Oceana released a report earlier this month that showed offshore wind in the Atlantic would produce twice as much energy and twice as many jobs as offshore drilling. The risks posed by new drilling are simply not worth it.

Past efforts to explore for offshore oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean has put our oceans at risk, led to controversy, litigation, government investigations, and near disaster. There is no good reason to continue down that path by selling even more leases in the Arctic Ocean. Companies are not ready to operate safely, have not explored the leases they already own, and many have walked away from leases they bought over the last decade.

I applaud the President’s action to protect Hanna Shoal and coastal areas along the Chukchi Sea and in the Beaufort Sea. However, in the context of offering additional offshore leases for drilling these sound actions will not be adequate to protect the Arctic Ocean from harm or the devastating impacts of an oil spill.

Please remove the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans from the proposed five-year oil and gas leasing program on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Sincerely,

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