Time for Your Input on U.S. Offshore Oil Drilling Plan
During the first week in 2018, the U.S. government put forth a plan to open nearly all of the coastlines of the U.S. to offshore oil and gas drilling. Regardless of your political leanings, this will threaten U.S. coastlines from oil spills to the tune of the disastrous Bluewater Horizon spill of 2010.
But there is still time to fight this plan: The ruling is still in draft form and the U.S. government is awaiting public comments before it implements the plan. That is, they are awaiting comments from you and I.
The plan to open our waters to offshore drilling
On January 8, 2018, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) posted a plan to begin selling oil drilling leases to oil companies off the coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Gulf states, and all of the East coast states.
The 47 leases would be sold between 2019 and 2024. Seven of these leases are off the coast of California, where drilling was banned after the huge oil spill off of Santa Barbara in 1969.
Since the plan was published, waters off the State of Florida have been exempted. The announcement says that Florida is exempted because of its reliance upon the tourism industry.
Now is your chance to comment
The U.S. government is waiting to hear from you on this issue. Here is the website where you can post your comment:
Here is my comment
I posted the following comment on January 9. Feel free to copy and paste any parts of my comment into your comment:
“Thank you for the opportunity to comment. This comment is specific to the State of California, where I am a resident. I live on the coast and I am a surfer. Sometimes oil from previous oil spills will get onto our bodies when we surf. This is toxic and dangerous. We had a spill off of Santa Barbara two years ago (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-santa-barbara-county-oil-spill-20160517-snap-story.html) and it killed at least 106 marine mammals and over 200 birds. It also hurt the economy as roads were blocked, fishing was curtailed and beaches were shut down. This particular spill was considered “moderate.”
Opening up leases for offshore drilling interferes with mandated California State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs – https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/MPAs). These were set up by the State of California to help protect coastlines, sealife and fishing rights. The purpose of the MPAs is to protect a part of our nation that is now endangered: Beautiful coastlines and species of whales, elephant seals, dolphins, porpoises, orcas, sharks, sea otters, abalone, mussels, crabs and so many others. All of this marine life would become endangered by an oil spill caused by offshore oil drilling in our waters.
Opening up our coastlines to drilling would also infringe upon and undermine the California Marine Life Protection Act (https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/MPAs/MLPA). This Act provides protection to endangered species of life that would become further endangered by the environmental impacts of offshore oil drilling.
Further to these points are the social effects of oil drilling. Offshore drilling would hurt the tourist economy due not only to the unsightly drilling platforms but due to the toxicity of our waters (because tourists go to the beaches), along with the potential for oil spills, which if it happened, would shut down the tourism industry along the coastlines affected.
The effects upon our economy would be devastating. An oil spill along our coasts would threaten the livelihoods of many fishermen and the fishing industry for many years to come. Hotels, restaurants and many other tourist-supported industries would be threatened.
The process of leasing and subsequent set up of the leases would certainly be met with tremendous public fallout by U.S. citizens throughout California. This would hurt those oil companies as people would likely boycott those company’s products in one form or another. I would venture to say that citizens would likely purchase more electric cars to protest the industry. This would have the effect of reducing the profits of the oil companies as a whole.
The general consensus of a majority of California residents is shock (https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/04/new-offshore-oil-drilling-proposed-off-california-coast-by-trump-administration/) that the Federal Government would dismiss the State’s rights to manage and govern its coastlines effectively, and put one of this country’s last treasures at risk of catastrophic damage – such as what happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 (Deepwater Horizon Spill – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill).
Please withdraw this leasing program for the waters off the State of California.
Thank you again for the opportunity to comment.”
Again, please feel free to copy and paste any parts of my comment to yours. If you live in another coastal area that will be threatened by oil drilling, I would encourage you to look up your state’s laws and quote them with your comment and discuss the environmental and economic damage that would occur should there be a spill from one of the oil platforms.
Again, this is not a political issue, it is an environmental issue. Regardless of your political leanings, our coastline habitats may be severely damaged by an oil spill.
Remember that the oil spill from the Bluewater Horizon continued to leak for over two years. This spill killed dolphins, tuna, turtles and many other marine species, and the coastline communities are still reeling from the environmental and economic effects of that spill.
I showed you how oil got on my surfboard from the Santa Barbara spill in this article. Do we want black tar balls of oil covering us when we go on vacation to the beach and go swimming?
I hope you will take the time to comment.