Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Schwarzenegger to seek federal help for California budget,0,7164018.story?track=rss
“One new source of revenue in the budget: Schwarzenegger will revive a plan to allow offshore oil drilling from an existing platform off the Santa Barbara coast. The proposal was so controversial during last summer's budget debate that after the Assembly voted down the plan, members expunged the vote, erasing it from the public record.”

On a related note, we thought it would be interesting to point out this text from the Schwarzenegger administration' s California Ocean Action Strategy (2004):

"Eliminate Adverse Impacts of Offshore Oil and Gas Development. The Schwarzenegger Administration will continue to defend California’s right and duty to protect the California coast from the impacts of new offshore oil and gas leasing, exploration, or development on the federal Outer Continental Shelf and will encourage the federal government to seek a settlement to extinguish the 36 leases off the California Coast."

Environmentalists: Why T-Ridge is a Bad Deal (CA)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Offshore Oil Drilling - Not the Answer in Oregon

In Oregon, Rep. Ben Cannon, chairman of the House Environment and Water Committee, says he’ll ask the Legislature in its February session to renew the state’s oil-drilling moratorium and turn it into a permanent ban. Portland-based Environment Oregon and Surfrider Foundation's Oregon chapters support this action.

Cannon stated that there’s not enough oil and gas in Oregon coastal waters to risk marring the state’s fishing and tourism industries, and the state is promoting wave energy as a cleaner, renewable energy source. “As far as Oregon is concerned, it’s just a poor economic use of our ocean,” Cannon says of oil drilling.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Terrible Place to Drill for Oil

The following is from an article by Greg Haegele, Deputy Executive Director, Sierra Club and Athan Manuel, Director of the Sierra Club Public Lands Protection Program.

Image credit: Beehive Collective, Art Not Oil.

The Chukchi Sea is a terrible place to drill for oil, both because of its ecological importance and because it would be incredibly difficult to remove and transport any oil found in the region. Remote and pristine, the Chukchi Sea provides important habitat for threatened polar bears and endangered whales. The area Shell has leased is 80 miles off shore, in waters frozen solid most of the year and only open when the ice breaks up from July to mid-October. Worse, the Chukchi's churning sea ice would make it impossible to clean up an oil spill.

Shell's pursuit of oil in the Chukchi Sea simply doesn't make sense. Right now, the rest of the world is working together to end our dependence on fossil fuels and move into the clean energy economy. But Shell is continuing to blindly pursue its desperate search for oil - even in a place as unpromising and risky as Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

Drilling in the Chukchi Sea is a foolish move on Shell's part. We shouldn't allow the company to destroy important Arctic habitat in the pursuit of its outdated pipe dream. It's time to stop chasing every drop of oil on the planet and start focusing on clean energy instead.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alaska groups sue to stop offshore drilling

Scott Maddox: Drilling won't give us what proponents promise (FL)

Captiva official urges SW Florida legislators to oppose offshore drilling

Oil Rigs Close Near Australia as Cyclone Intensifies
Tropical Cyclone Laurence, Australia’s first storm of the season, is intensifying as it moves closer to the northwestern coast, triggering evacuations of offshore oil and gas rigs.
Winds with gusts as high as 165 kilometers per hour are being experienced in the Kimberley area and winds with gusts to 130 kph are expected later today further southwest, along with heavy rain.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Senate Climate Roadmap Caters to Nuclear, Offshore Drilling Proponents
“Offshore drilling would also see new incentives under the bill. The senators said their legislation would seek to boost the supply of domestically produced oil and natural gas both on land and offshore. "We will do so in a way that sends money back to the states that opt to drill and also provides new federal government revenues to advance climate goals," the framework states.”

Solving climate change through oil, nukes and coal?
“And, apparently concerned that the hundreds of billions of dollars earned by oil companies isn’t enough profit, these 3 Senators pledge to open more oil and gas drilling offshore and on land, and promise to protect the domestic oil refining industry.”

Offshore drilling would put $100 million in state coffers: Democrats balk at plan (CA)
As I’ve noted before, it always seems to be the “inland” legislators that are advocating for new offshore oil drilling.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Big Oil Pushes False Solutions in the Southeast

Right now, big oil and their allies are making a huge push to expand offshore drilling operations in the Southeast. They are working tirelessly to deceive the public about the risks and so-called “benefits” of rigging the coastlines. Elected officials, particularly those in the Florida state legislature, are hearing more from (and listening to) oil lobbyists than they are from concerned coastal constituents on this issue. Talk of drilling in the Southeast is even rearing its ugly head in federal climate and energy policy discussions, a place where polluting fossil fuels certainly do not belong.

Expanding drilling in the U.S. can never make us sinificantly less dependent on foreign oil. The United States contains only 2.5% of the world’s oil resources yet we consume 24% of them. Based on current consumption rates (20 million barrels of oil per day), even if we were to recover all of the “technically recoverable” oil in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic shoreline, it would only last the US 13 months. We could drill every national park, wildlife refuge, and coastline, and still need to import over 60% of what we would need. U.S. oil is only a drop in the bucket. The only ways we will ever reduce our dependency are to reduce our consumption and develop new clean energy sources.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Full Speed Ahead to ???

Two stories caught my eye today. First was Spill is among worst ever on North Slope, discussing a 24-inch rupture in a pipeline that began pouring oil and water Nov. 29, creating one of the biggest North Slope crude oil spills ever, with a "working estimate" of the spill's size about 46,000 gallons of crude and produced water.

Then there was Offshore oil drilling gets go-ahead in Alaska's Arctic, which stated that the Interior Department had given the go-ahead for Shell Oil to begin drilling three exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea, a move that opens the door for offshore oil and gas production in the Arctic. "This is progress," said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Uh...............right. We're making good time as we move down the wrong road.

Monday, December 7, 2009

County might not go with the flow on oil drilling (FL)
"That's just the other side of Anclote Island," Hildebrand said, referring to the possible three-mile limit for offshore oil rigs. Possible impact on tourism remains a big concern, Mulieri commented. Nor is it clear how much additional oil-drilling royalty revenue might flow into state coffers.

Drilling's economic impact (FL)

Scott Maddox Says No, Baby, No on Oil Drilling (FL – YouTube video)
Also see Facebook page (no candidate endorsement implied)

Shell is overselling claims about arctic spill cleanup

Australian oil spill seeps into Senate debate about drilling offshore in U.S.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Not the Answer in B.C. Either

Just as in the U.S., there are mis-guided proposals in Canada to drill for oil in near-offshore waters.

British Columbia has a long-standing offshore oil ban, established in 1971. The provincial government tried to lift the ban during the 1980s, but the Exxon Valdez disaster, spilling 40 million litres of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, scuttled that movement.

With the extreme weather along the B.C. coast, the potential for an oil spill there would be high. The Exxon Valdez spread oil over 2,400 kilometers of coastline, contaminating both ocean and land-based ecosystems.

Allowing offshore oil production in B.C. would increase pollution of coastal waters and place vulnerable ecosystems (such as the Great Bear Rainforest, and the beloved Spirit Bear) within range of potential oil spills.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Report Says Beaches Worth More Than Oil

According to “Oceans Under the Gun: Living Seas or Drilling Seas?”, a report released by Environment America, clean beaches and oceans support a vibrant coastal tourism and fishing economy that generates almost $200 billion per year and accounts for over 4.1 million jobs in coastal counties. By contrast, based on a very optimistic scenario, the American Petroleum Institute claims that vastly expanded drilling off every coast might create 160,000 new jobs. Offshore drilling puts jobs that are dependent on clean beaches and oceans at risk from oil spills, a realistic concern given the two month spill off the coast of Australia that shows spills still inevitably happen even with new technology and good regulations.

At least 7 chambers of commerce on the West coast of Florida in jeopardy from drilling proposals have recently passed resolutions against the expansion of drilling because of the threat posed to tourism by oil drilling. For the full list of chambers of commerce, cities and counties that officially oppose drilling in Florida, see: