Gulf Coastal Crisis

From Environment New York‘s Anna Aurilio:

“As we witness a major environmental disaster unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s time for President Obama to reconsider his recent support for more drilling off our nation’s shores.

Tell the president and his administration to reject new drilling off America’s coasts.

By Wednesday, the oil slick emanating from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig had spread over 3,200 square miles of the Gulf. That’s more than three times the size of Rhode Island and the slick is growing by the hour.

It’s hard to overstate the likely ecological damage. Already, as much as 200,000 gallons of oil per day are bubbling up through waters populated with endangered bluefin tuna and sperm whales. The Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge — established 100 years ago by Teddy Roosevelt> and home to thousands of brown pelicans — stands right in the oil slick’s path. As the oil oozes towards the shore, Louisiana’s famed seafood — fish, shellfish, oysters — will be hit hard as well. [1]

This is the catastrophe that the oil industry has been telling us is impossible. We can expand drilling, they’ve told us, because new technology has made drilling “clean and safe.” As it turns out, not so much. [2]

Yet it was just a few weeks ago that the Obama administration announced plans to open another 165 million acres off our Atlantic coast (an area almost the size of Texas), and another 40 million acres off Florida’s west coast, to more oil drilling. The administration’s Minerals Management Service is accepting public comments on part of their offshore drilling plan now.

This should be, as the president himself might say, a “teachable moment.” As Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, a recent supporter of some offshore drilling until he flew over the spill, said, “If this doesn’t give somebody pause, there’s something wrong.” [3]

Disasters happen, especially when drilling holes thousands of feet into the ocean floor for an inherently dirty fuel. Click here to tell the Obama administration that “drill, baby, drill” is not the answer to our nation’s energy future.

And thanks, as always, for making it all possible.”

[2] The Deepwater Horizon was drilling in water 5,000 feet deep on a well that extended another 20,000 feet under the ocean’s floor. Containing and stopping spills at that depth is incredibly difficult. Containing a full-blown explosion like the one we saw last week is near-impossible. It could be one or two months, at least, before we see this thing brought under full control. For the fish, the birds, and the Louisiana coast, it will be far too late.

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