Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cities and county unite to oppose offshore drilling (FL)
Sarasota County and its four cities unanimously approved a resolution to maintain the bank against oil drilling off of Florida's coast.

Let's Talk About Off Shore Oil Drilling (CA)
Just imagine the strip of beach from Ventura to Malibu closed and polluted. Think it can't happen? Well it did. On August 21, over a month ago, an off shore rig in Austalia began to spill oil from a broken underwater pipe. Reports say that it could still take "at least three weeks to plug the spill." It has been estimated that between 400 and 3000 barrels of oil are being spilled into the ocean each day. With the spill taking so long to contain, it is forseeable that if a rig off the Santa Barbara coast had a spill, the oil could seep clear down to Los Angeles and maybe San Diego. That's a lot of soiled beaches.

The End of Oil?

Oil is the curse of the modern world; it is “the devil’s excrement,” in the words of the former Venezuelan oil minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, who is considered to be the father of OPEC and should know. Our insatiable need for oil has brought us global warming, Islamic fundamentalism and environmental depredation. It has turned the United States and China, the world’s biggest consumers of petroleum, into greedy, irresponsible addicts that can’t see beyond their next fix. With a few exceptions, like Norway and the United Arab Emirates, oil doesn’t even benefit the nations from which it is extracted. On the contrary: Most oil-rich states have been doomed to a seemingly permanent condition of kleptocracy by a few, poverty for the rest, chronic backwardness and, worst of all, the loss of a national soul.
We can’t be rid of the stuff soon enough.

Such is the message of Peter Maass’s slender but powerfully written new book, “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

PxP Exposed and Opinion: PXP’s offshore drilling project not right deal for us (CA)

Menendez and Nelson lead effort to block offshore drilling
Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.) was supporting an amendment to the Interior Department appropriations bill that would have allowed Bush administration offshore drilling plans to be included in the bill.Sen. Robert Menendez (D.-N.J.), working with Sen. Bill Nelson (D.-Fla.), blocked the amendment and led the Senate in a 56-42 vote against Vitter’s attempt to send the bill back to committee for the inclusion of his amendment.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beware the Sirens of Big Oil (AK)

Opinion: Bristol Bay should be cut from the five-year OCS leasing schedule (AK)

Florida lawmakers gather to debate offshore oil drilling in Clearwater

Offshore drilling supporter tells tourism agency: It's safe (FL)
Note that Rep. Dean Cannon is from Winter Park, FL (near Orlando) which is in the middle of Florida, far from the beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Australian Oil Spill Keeps on Gushing and Spreading

This is from Skytruth:

New images from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites keep coming in. At 8:45 am local time, the Terra satellite passed overhead and captured this image, showing oil slicks and sheen throughout a 9,870 square mile area (=7,455 square nautical miles). Part of the slick appears to be in contact with Cartier Island, a national marine reserve.

Five hours later the Aqua satellite took this image. The wind speed had increased from 10 knots to 18 knots, creating a much rougher sea surface and breaking up or obscuring the thinner slicks and sheen. Only thicker portions of the slick are apparent in this image, adjacent to the Montara platform, covering about 3,940 square miles (=2,976 nautical square miles). No slicks are apparent near Cartier - a good sign on Day 34 of this continuing spill. See all our satellite and aerial images of the spill here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oil Industry Sets a Brisk Pace of New Discoveries
“In 30 years I’ve been in the business, the Gulf of Mexico has been called the Dead Sea countless times,” said Bobby Ryan, the vice president of global exploration at Chevron. “And yet it continues to revitalize itself.”
Interesting uses of “dead” and “revitalize.” I guess in Chevron’s world, dead means no oil and revitalize means a new oil discovery. Evidently they aren’t aware of the real “dead zone” in the area.

Senate blocks bid to keep offshore drilling policy

Two Ocean Views in Congress
Here we go again. The Rep from Florida says protect our ocean and coasts, while the Rep from Nebraska says Drill Baby Drill.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jindal urges expansion of offshore drilling (LA)

Perdue indicates she's open to offshore drilling (NC)

The Era of Xtreme Energy
“We possess just two options for shortening this difficult era and mitigating its impact. They are both perfectly obvious — which, unfortunately, makes them no easier to bring about: drastically speed up the development of renewable sources of energy and greatly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by reorganizing our lives and our civilization so that we might consume less of them in everything we do.”

Offshore Drilling: Risky Job Killer (VA)

Decision due soon on Arctic Ocean oil drilling

Offshore Drilling Deadline Meets 11th Hour Plea (Alaska)

Groups spar over U.S. offshore drilling plan

Commentary: Coastal drilling is an option we must keep open (CA)
Notice how pro-drilling comments are often from inland areas? Visalia is in CA’s Central Valley, far from the coast.

Bishop Urges Expansion of Offshore Drilling
And here’s a Congressman from Utah pushing for more offshore drilling. I guess he doesn’t have to worry about his beaches getting oiled.

Vitter urges no delays in offshore oil drilling
OK, so Vitter is from a coastal state (LA), but perhaps he feels they don’t have anything left to lose.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who wants to Surf in Oil??? Photo Credit: Sasso

Last year, as many of you remember, there was an ill-conceived legislative to reverse three decades of Federal and state bans on offshore oil drilling, which have protected our state’s most treasured and valuable resource – its coastlines. This bill was advanced by, as noted by the Bradenton Herald, “a secretive group of powerful legislators, business groups and Texas oil companies.”

Read more on our Florida statewide blog...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fears for sealife in Australian oil spill

Opponents ask Salazar to halt offshore drilling

Florida Energy Associates pushing for offshore drilling
“They appeared in the spring, a secretive group trying to upend Florida's longtime ban on offshore drilling by promising millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs. The effort to allow drilling within three to 10 miles of beaches failed to pass the Legislature, but only just. Now emissaries from Florida Energy Associates are touring the state to campaign for overturning the ban at the next legislative session, either this fall or next spring. Incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Orlando, says he'll sponsor a bill to allow drilling as close as five miles offshore.“

Perdue Looking for Advice on Offshore Drilling, Wind Energy (NC)

Candidates Talk on Offshore Drilling (VA)

Opponents ask Salazar to halt offshore drilling

Opponents of offshore drilling - including some dressed as salmon and a polar bear - delivered more than 250,000 postcards and letters to the Interior Department Monday on a proposal to open vast waters off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to oil and gas drilling.

Read more in the Washington Post.

The final total was actually 280,000 comments on the new 5-year lease and made it clear that new offshore drilling is not the answer.

Offshore Drilling - The People Speak

Today is the end of the comment period on the Department of Interior’s Draft 5 Year Offshore Drilling Plan (2010-2015) which proposes new offshore oil and gas leasing at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, two other areas along the east coast and several areas along coastal California.

In response to the end of the comment period, Environment America Oceans Advocate Michael Gravitz issued the following statement:

“Today, Secretary of Interior Salazar will receive more than 270,000 reasons not to drill in new areas off the Atlantic or Pacific coasts or the eastern Gulf of Mexico. We hope Secretary Salazar listens to the more than a quarter million citizens from around the country who have said that more drilling is bad energy policy and bad for our oceans.

Offshore drilling is still a dirty and dangerous business that risks catastrophic damage and chronic pollution to our stressed oceans and beloved beaches. For example, an oil spill that started on August 21st off the coast of northwestern Australia is spilling an estimated 3,000 barrels per day, almost 4 million gallons of oil so far; and it won’t be stopped for another 2-3 weeks at the earliest. The drilling rig and platform are all the newest technology, having been built in the last 3 years, and yet we now have an oil slick in the Timor Sea covering parts of 7,500 square miles, equivalent to an area the size of New Jersey.

Instead of new drilling in places like Georges Bank, the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Hatteras, the Georgia Sea Isles or off pristine California coasts, this administration should continue to emphasize energy efficiency and renewable energy such as wind and wave power from our oceans. For example, the increased fuel economy standards announced by the Obama Administration last week will save us 1.3 million barrels of oil a day by 2020. An Environment America report to be released tomorrow will document more oil savings from increased investment in public transit. Finally focusing on developing renewable sources of energy in appropriate offshore areas will not pollute the ocean or atmosphere, will contribute to solving our global warming challenges decade after decade, and won’t make the problem worse like more drilling will.”

Surfrider Foundation also submitted comments on the draft 5-year offshore drilling plan and our action alert resulted in over 7,000 letters to Secretary Salazar.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Local Politicians Debate Reopening Oil Drilling (CA)

Timor Sea Oil Spill Reminds Of Offshore Drilling Risks

Lesson from Australia: Big oil spill from "safe" offshore rig (FL)

SC Lawmakers May Consider Offshore Drilling (South Carolina)

Creeping Toward Offshore Drilling Reality (VA)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Australia Oil Spill: 25 DAYS & COUNTING

Following the daily count here....

PTTEP Says Drilling Will Begin Today to Plug Timor Sea Oil Leak

Oil threat to Australia wildlife

Offshore oil drilling by the numbers (FL)

Opponents of offshore drilling say lifting ban could have dire consequences (FL)

Oil-drilling debate gets stickier (FL)

Parnell to lobby for OCS drilling in Washington (AK)

AB 1536 FAIL

The second attempt to make an end run on the State Lands Commission by legislating a temporary sham commission fails. Enough is enough. It's time for PxP stop these slimy attempts to subvert California's independent natural resource management agencies.

From the NY Times Greenwire:

By DEBRA KAHN of Greenwire

A bill that would have allowed the first new offshore oil lease in California in 30 years to offset budget woes failed to pass the state Legislature last week, leaving the longstanding moratorium intact for now.

A.B. 1536 died in committee Friday, to the relief of environmental groups that had supported an offshore drilling lease proposal earlier this year by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co., or PXP.

PXP had secured the support of several environmental groups by promising to donate land and shut down all drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara by 2022, but those groups balked at the prospect of circumventing the State Lands Commission, the body normally in charge of in-state energy production (Greenwire, June 2).

The bill by Assembly Minority Leader Sam Blakeslee (R) would have supplanted the Lands Commission with a three-member board of appointees of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) instead of one appointee and two elected officials. The commission voted in January to reject PXP's offer, despite the environmental concessions and up to $5 billion in oil royalties through 2022 it could produce.

Read the rest here...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Parnell urges feds to allow offshore drilling (AK)

Offshore oil drilling debate adds intrigue to Lt. Gov. appointment (CA)

Take Three on Tranquillon Ridge (CA)

Florida needs to open the gulf to oil drilling
(letter to the editor from Oil Industry Lobbyist)

Dueling offshore drilling plans in Congress

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Truth from the Sky: Timor Oil Spill Now Covers 5800 square miles

SkyTruth is doing an amazing job of helping us all understand the impact of the gigantic oil drill in the Timor Sea north of Australia. Check out their blog.

This is their most recent post:

SkyTruth just downloaded and processed a MODIS satellite image from NASA that was taken on September 3, 2009. It shows the area in the Timor Sea affected by oil slicks and sheen from the Montara / West Atlas blowout and oil spill that began on August 21 is now over 5,800 square miles in size. That's more than double what it was just four days earlier, on August 30. And it's as big as Connecticut and Rhode Island put together:

Visit their blog for updates on this spill and the potential impacts of a spill like this in Florida.

Is your state next?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sam Blaskeslee makes end run at State Land's Commission denial of PXP. OPPOSE AB 1536

This week Sam Blakeslee takes sole ownership of the "Flaming Oil Rig" award.

In a second attempt to to an end run on the California State Lands Commission denial of the PXP, CA Rep. Sam Blakeslee "guts and stuffs" AB1536 to create a sham committee to approve the project.

Urgent Action Needed to Oppose AB1536

In July you all worked hard to defeat the CA Governor’s Oil Drilling Scheme. Your efforts helped carry the day. The Governor’s plan was defeated in the California Assembly by a vote of 28 – 43.

There was massive opposition to the first attempt at this end run and the opposition has only grown.

Unfortunately, PXP is trying to make a comeback and CA Asm. Sam Blakeslee is its new champion – Republican Assembly member Sam Blakeslee has a gut-and-amend bill (AB 1536) to hand PXP the 1st new lease to drill in state waters since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. The Blakeslee bill would create a sham committee to subvert the State Lands Commission authority.

We have to defeat this blatant disregard for California's independent resource protection agencies. We did it before and we can do it again.

Your urgent action is needed -- AB 1536 (Blakeslee) is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. The bill cannot proceed without special action by the Committee. Please contact Senator Darrell Steinberg (Senate President Pro Tempore and Chair, Rules Committee) at (916) 651-4006 to express your opposition to this bill and ask him to stop AB 1536. Remind Senator Steinberg that 93 environmental organizations oppose this legislation.

Please take the time to thank those Members of the Assembly who stood strong and did not support this coastal giveaway the last time it was considered. Ask them to stand with you on this issue again. Their names and phone numbers are below.

Click here to find your district representative.

Tom Ammiano (916) 319-2013

Jim Beall (916) 319-2024

Marty Block (916) 319-2078

Bob Blumenfield (916) 319-2040

Julia Brownley (916) 319-2041

Joan Buchanan (916) 319-2015

Anna Caballero (916) 319-2028

Wilmer Amina Carter (916) 319-2062

Wes Chesbro (916) 319-2001

Joe Coto (916) 319-2023

Mike Davis (916) 319-2048

Hector De La Torre (916) 319-2050

Kevin De León (916) 319-2045

Mike Eng (916) 319-2049

Noreen Evans (916) 319-2007

Mike Feuer (916) 319-2042

Nathan Fletcher (916) 319-2075

Paul Fong (916) 319-2022

Felipe Fuentes (916) 319-2039

Warren Furutani (916) 319-2055

Cathleen Galgiani (916) 319-2017

Isadore Hall (916) 319-2052

Diane Harkey (916) 319-2073

Mary Hayashi (916) 319-2018

Ed Hernandez (916) 319-2057

Jerry Hill (916) 319-2019

Alyson Huber (916) 319-2010

Jared Huffman (916) 319-2006

Dave Jones (916) 319-2009

Paul Krekorian (916) 319-2043

Ted Lieu (916) 319-2053

Bonnie Lowenthal (916) 319-2054

Fiona Ma (916) 319-2012

Tony Mendoza (916) 319-2056

William Monning (916) 319-2027

John Perez (916) 319-2046

V. Manuel Perez (916) 319-2080

Anthony Portantino (916) 319-2044

Ira Ruskin (916) 319-2021

Mary Salas (916) 319-2079

Lori Saldaña (916) 319-2076

Nancy Skinner (916) 319-2014

Jose Solorio (916) 319-2076

Audra Strickland (916) 319-2037

Sandré Swanson (916) 319-2016

Tom Torlakson (916) 319-2011

Norma Torres (916) 319-2061

Alberto Torrico (916) 319-2020

Mariko Yamada (916) 319-2008

Speaker Karen Bass (916) 319-2047

Friday, September 4, 2009

Modern drilling equipment is so advanced, safe and effective that... oops, nevermind.

Editorial: Oil spills still a threat

One of the arguments made by those who favor offshore drilling for oil near Florida's coastline is that modern drilling equipment is so advanced, safe and effective that oil spills from rigs are virtually a thing of the past, so there's no real risk to Florida's beaches.


A drilling company today is fighting a spreading oil slick - it had covered about 1,800 square nautical miles of surface by earlier this week - in the Timor Sea near Australia. The rig responsible for the leak is reported to be one of the most modern in the world.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called the incident "appalling" and promised a federal investigation.

"Appalling" might turn out to be an understatement.

According to news reports, ships carrying equipment to fight the slick are expected on site today, more than a week after the leak began. And a rig that will drill a relief well into the fractured well and pump in mud to cap it off and stop the flow of leaking oil and gas isn't expected to leave Singapore until Tuesday ... and it will take four weeks to reach the leaking rig.

Oil company officials said they couldn't even estimate how much oil has leaked into the sea.
But the news get worse. Officials said it could take four weeks to drill the new well and cap off the old one, meaning the oil spill could span two months before it can be plugged.

More than a week after the accident happened officials were vague about the exact cause, saying a blowout occured about 11,500 feet below the ocean floor, which helps explain why it will take so long to drill to the problem area.

Meanwhile, in July an oil pipeline off Louisiana leaked 1,500 barrels of oil into the Gulf, creating a slick that covered 90 square miles, according to U.S. Coast Guard records.

No doubt today's drilling and production rigs are more advanced than in the past. But it still takes only a single spill to spread disaster across Florida's beaches.

You can keep with with the Timor Sea Drilling Spill on SkyTruths's blog here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Australian Oil Well Blowout - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Actually, there are a growing collection of photos of the ongoing ecological disaster off the west coast of Australia.
Is this a preview of the future for California, Florida, Virginia and elsewhere?