Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ask an Alien

OK, we admit this offshore oil drilling discussion can get pretty confusing sometimes, with all the claims and counter-claims, so we thought we would seek out some "expert" advice from a more advanced civilization. We were pleasantly surprised by the results.

2,350 oil spills into the Mediterranean... in one year

2,350 oil spills into the Mediterranean... in one year

Monday, February 22, 2010

Decisions Nearing; Oil Companies Lobbying; Fishermen Worried


Interior Secretary Sees Offshore Leasing Plan in 30-45 Days

Salazar closes in on offshore drilling decision


Oil company spending lavishly to get around Carpinteria law,0,3506662.column
This is proposed onshore drilling, but it affects coastal and offshore resources.


Florida legislators consider lifting ban on offshore drilling


Va. Senate backs bill to send offshore-drilling cash to transportation, environment
“What a difference a few days makes. Voting 21-19, the Virginia Senate today backed legislation earmarking cash from offshore oil and gas exploration for education, the environment and transportation. The Democrat-controlled Senate had rejected a similar bill earlier in the 2010 session, largely to send a message to Gov. Bob McDonnell to go public on his remedy to the state's fiscal crisis. The House bill passed this afternoon and the defeated Senate measure are largely symbolic measures. That's because it will be years, if ever, before Virginia sees royalties from offshore drilling.”

Uncertainty not worth spoiling coast


Tribes concerned about loss of fishing due to oil spills
“After having been essentially excluded from the commercial fishery in Nova Scotia for some time, Aboriginal fishermen have seen a dramatic growth in their ranks in the past ten years and they are worried that this productive period could come to an abrupt end by the dangers posed by recent moves to approve oil and gas production on Georges Bank.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oregon Decides that Offshore Drilling is NOT THE ANSWER in its Territorial Sea

Yesterday, the Oregon State Senate passed HB 3613 by a vote of 22-8. This bill restores the moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and gas within Oregon's Territorial Sea (0-3nm) until 2020. This bill was supported by a diverse coalition of businesses, organizations, fishing groups and the Siuslaw, Newport, and Portland Chapters of the Surfrider Foundation.

Read More:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting for Drilling Decisions, But Why Wait for Conservation?


Experts: 2010 may not be make, break for drilling

East Coast

US Reviews East Coast Exploration Timeline
“In a letter to Congress, the Interior Department said it will complete the necessary steps to plan for the possibility of "multiple geological and geophysical activities" in federal waters off the US East Coast in two years. The department plans to hold environmental reviews, scoping meetings, and public comment periods before issuing a final decision on offshore energy activities in the Atlantic by April 2012. Any exploration drilling would not occur until at least 2014.”


Offshore Oil Drilling Will Not Make Us Conserve Oil
“The way to address an addiction is to seek alternatives to the addiction. We need to stop producing large, wasteful vehicles. We must embrace the fact that we are running out of a natural resource and act accordingly. We can not drill our way out of this problem. Offshore drilling wouldn't even allow us to top our cars off, we'd only get 10% from offshore drilling and the trade-off is massive as we would put coastal economies and ecosystems at risk.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thousands of Hands Across the Sand in Florida

Hands at St. Pete Beach

Hands at Cocoa Beach

Here is just a sample of the media coverage for last Saturday's Hands Across the Sand event in Florida to protest proposed new offshore oil drilling there:

Thousands Hold Hands Against Drilling Off Florida Beaches
Protestors rally to fight oil drilling off Florida coasts

TC Palm: Editorial: Oil drilling could change Florida for the worse

Protesters across Florida rally against offshore oil drilling,0,2132843.story

Activists unite on beach in protest against oil drilling

Surfers, Scientists Say No To Oil Drilling Off Florida Coast

Hands Across the Sand sends message

Floridians protest offshore oil drilling

Hands join to protest offshore drilling

Protesters draw line in sand

Florida Beach Goers Protest Offshore Drilling

Hundreds line Pinellas County beaches to protest near-shore oil drilling

Hundreds say 'no' to offshore drilling

Surfrider to Host Community Forums around California

During March and April, the Surfrider Foundation and Environment California will be hosting community forums to discuss the threat of offshore oil drilling and what local communities can do to keep the oil rigs at bay!

This first community forums will be held in:

  • San Diego on March 3 (7pm) 
  • Los Angeles on March 17th (7pm)  

View the invitation for the San Diego and LA forums here (and below) ....and stay tuned for information about the forums being held in LA, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Drill Off the Gulf Coast of Florida? - Consider This

One of our activists in Florida recently sent this response to a supporter of new offshore oil drilling:

Thanks for your letter.

You mentioned the Ixtoc 1 blowout in the Gulf. That spill released over 140 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf.

This summary explains why environmental impacts were not as great as they could have been. Location and prevailing currents made for a lucky break - there was plenty of time to prepare before the mess came near shore.

Depending on the location of a blowout in the eastern Gulf, plus winds and currents, Florida's coastlines and sea life could be damaged for a generation. See NOAA study here as to oil impacts on mangroves. The only mangrove communities in the continental U.S. are in Florida (the entire west coast of Everglades National Park) and the study explains in detail why this ecological community would be the very worst place any sized spill could happen.

See also photos of major oil spill off the Australian coast this past summer from 'state of the art' oil rig only a couple of years old.

This NOAA image of the Gulf of Mexico shows the basic Loop Current - always subject to change depending on weather conditions:

Offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf near Florida could well be a nightmare waiting to happen. Both the ecology and the economy of Florida would be hit very hard by a major spill. The risk is too great - the rewards much too small.

Finally, see this study which shows how even routine offshore oil drilling operations impact the ecosystem and sea life:

Gearing Up for Hands Across the Sand in Florida; Virginia Senate Says 'Not So Fast' to Governor McDonnell


Florida beach towns plan protest against oil drilling

Offshore oil drilling forum draws more than 125 on both sides of the issue (includes video)

SWFL leaders back and forth on offshore drilling

Florida Today Editorial: Hands Across the Sand (

Hands Across The Sand Offshore Oil Drilling Protest (Eye on Miami)


State Senate defeats bill on offshore drilling
"There [was a] major setback today in the Virginia Senate for Gov. Bob McDonnell, with the Democratic majority defeating legislation endorsing offshore drilling for oil and gas..."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Offshore Oil - Bad Deals, Bans and Protests


Don't trade oil for parks


Oregon House votes for 10-year ban on off-shore oil and gas drilling


A 'human line in the sand'
“Floridians who don't want oil drilling as close as 3 miles head for the beaches this Saturday for the simplest demonstration ever.”
Also: Join hands to prevent Gulf drilling
“Our goal is to persuade legislators and Gov. Charlie Crist to drop the folly of offshore oil drilling. All it takes is one accident -- one oil spill. It is just not worth the risk to our environment and coastal tourism industry.”
Also: Protest aims at oil drilling


Virginia's misguided rush to drill offshore,0,6391655.story
“In the heated debate over offshore drilling, policymakers have […] largely ignored the coastal environment and economies that would be subjected to potential harm from new offshore drilling such as off Virginia's coast. […] It is disturbing that in their rush to drill, oil and gas drilling advocates in Virginia would oppose prudent studies on the impact of drilling on our precious Chesapeake Bay, our sensitive coastal wetlands, and our highly lucrative tourism and fishing industries that are completely dependent on clean beaches and healthy ocean waters.”

In Virginia, offshore drilling a bipartisan goal,0,3211440.story
The space agency, which operates a launching facility on the Virginia shore, says drilling would pose a safety risk because of the rigs' proximity to where rocket components fall into the Atlantic."You'd think 50 miles out would not be a problem," NASA spokesman Keith Koehler said. "But for us, it is. It's right in the middle of our launch range."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Opposition to Offshore Drilling - East and West


Offshore Drilling Will Not Wean Us Off Foreign Oil

Offshore Oil Drilling Environmental Facts (


Eco groups withdraw support of Calif. oil drilling

Three articles on the announcement by Lt. Governor nominee Maldonado that he will vote no on the PXP project if it comes back to the State Lands Commission:

Lieutenant governor nominee to vote against offshore oil drilling plan
Maldo: No On Oil Drilling Plan
Lt. Gov. nominee could cast vote on new oil-drilling off Calif. coast

A system in peril: Budget cutters again target the state parks
“This year, rather than proposing deep, painful cuts as he has for the last two years– only to have them rejected by popular outcry – the Governor has tried a different game of political “chicken.” His latest budget proposes to eliminate all General Fund support for state parks and replace it with uncertain funding from a highly controversial oil-drilling project that has been rejected twice. The Administration proposes to cut $140 million allocated to state parks and offset it with future revenues from oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast. So, the “fortune” of California’s state parks would be inextricably linked to an oil drilling proposal that already failed to get approval – not once, but twice in 2009.”


Oil drilling could hurt offshore game fishing, researchers say

Statewide event opposes offshore drilling

Protesters oppose offshore drilling

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

End Big Oil's Royalty Boondoggle!

On Tuesday the NY Times published an editorial about a 1995 incentive that was given to the oil companies to encourage them to explore for new oil. It's questionable whether they ever needed it, but they certainly don't need it now in this era of much higher oil prices. What is clear is that the sweet deal for Big Oil is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of taxpayers that could cost the government (and us) $54 billion in lost revenues.

Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts is attempting to right this 15-year-old wrong with a bill that would clarify the law and prevent companies from signing new leases in the gulf until they renegotiate the old ones and pay royalties that are due. Many of these leases are now beginning to yield oil, which will remain free of royalties as long as Congress fails to provide the kind of remedy proposed by Mr. Markey. Make Big Oil pay their fair share!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Enviros Lobbying for Oil Drilling in CA? Oil for Roads in VA?


Environmental groups battle over oil drilling
“Critics question whether the terms of the agreement can be adequately enforced. They argue if California were to allow the first new drilling in state waters since 1968 to go forward, it would send a message to the federal government that the state is now receptive to opening new oil leases off its coast.”


Off Shore Oil Drilling Symposium
In a symposium held Monday a panel of eight experts from all over the nation gave their two cents. "Any time a resource is taken out of the sea bed, it has to be transported in some way and it's by pipelines. There could be a significant disruption of territorial displays," says Felicia Coleman, Director of FSU's Coastal and Marine Lab.


How much are you paying Exxon Mobil?

Source: Environmental Law Institute (.pdf)

Last night while heading home from work I heard on the radio that America's biggest company Exxon Mobil's 4th quarter profits were down 23% to a measly $6 billion. Before you start feeling too bad for them remember that in 2008 when oil prices rose to $100 barrel, Exxon Mobil became the world’s most profitable corporation with earnings over $45 billion.

What's amazing to me is that despite these incredible profits, we continue to subsidize these hugely profitable and highly polluting companies.

The graph above makes is pretty clear that part of the transition from carbon-based fossil fuels to renewables will require that we stop subsidizing the most profitable and polluting companies and move that support to renewable energy sector.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oil Versus Seafood in Alaska; Protecting Beaches and a Marine Sanctuary in Florida


Oil Versus Your Seafood: Breaking the bounty of Bristol Bay
"The U.S. Mineral Management Service predicts oil drilling is expected to generate $7 billion over 25 to 40 years. Yet sustainable fisheries in the bay and the southeast Bering Sea that could be affected by drilling are valued at more than $2 billion every year, according to the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. The potential for environmental disaster is real. The Interior Department’s own environmental assessment predicts one large oil spill and numerous smaller spills during the undetermined amount of time that oil projects would continue. A large spill could contaminate Bristol Bay’s shores, inter-tidal waters and fish habitat for many years. Bristol Bay is too valuable to risk harming. Let’s not sacrifice our seafood and an ecological treasure for oil."


Marine sanctuary advisors to hear drilling report
“The sanctuary council has a history of opposing any gulf drilling. A 2007 resolution declares, "We support the strongest possible protection for Florida and other fragile marine environments from the impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration and development." The council reaffirmed that position in 2009.”

Protect state's beaches, economy