Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Florida Chapters Start State Constitutional Ban Effort

Florida Members want the public to have the chance to vote on near-shore oil drilling and to ban the possibility of this destructive practice. Oil drilling in Florida marine waters, which extend approximately three miles into the Atlantic Ocean and 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, is simply too great a risk to take.

Floridians asked the Legislature, at the Special Session held in July 2010, to place the issue before the voters. Unfortunately, the Legislature did not agree to allow Floridians to vote to amend the State Constitution in the November 2010 general election.

In light of the inaction of the Legislature, and to forestall any future attempt to allow near-shore oil drilling, a number of Florida organizations have created Save our Seas, Beaches and Shores, Inc. (SOSBS) to coordinate a citizens’ petition drive to place the ban on the November 2012 ballot. This will not be easy. It will need approximately 700,000 verified petitions from voting Florida residents. The Department of State, Division of Elections has grnted approval for the Constitutional Amendment Petition Form.

If you are a voting Florida Resident or know one please download, sign and mail in today!

Petition Form

One Page information sheet

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sylvia Earle Talks About The Gulf Disaster and Saving Our Seas

Former NOAA chief scientist and passionate advocate for our oceans Sylvia Earle recently sat down with Treehugger.com and talked about, among other things, what the Gulf oil spill means for the ocean’s ecology.

Listen and read the full interview here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oil found. Science lost.

In January 2009 during his inaugural speech, newly elected President Barack Obama stated,

"We will restore science to its rightful place..."

It is unfortunate that this promise has been forgotten in response worst environmental disaster in US history.

The Obama adminstration has repeatedly tried to down play the impacts of the gulf oil spill, including faking a swim in the Gulf, only to be repudiated by independent scientists.

Today's Congressional hearing revealed yet another insult to science.

After Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a White House briefing on Aug. 4 that "at least 50 percent of the oil that was released is now completely gone from the system. And most of the remainder is degrading rapidly or is being removed from the beaches.", scientists from several universities, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, University of Georgia and University of South Florida, amongst others, countered that the statement was unsubstantiated and not true.

Today , a senior U.S. scientist rescinds previous claim that 3/4 of oil from spill is gone, says most is still there. Lubchenco appears to still be in spin mode. I hope that fact that most of the oil remains in the Gulf and continues to threaten the ecosystem also makes the front page of the NY Times.

So much for restoring science to it's rightful place. Very disappointing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Upcoming Hearings about Oil Spill Response and Safety

Attend a public hearing to speak about protection of our coastlines and the importance of oil spill containment and rapid response.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formally the MMS--the agency who oversees drilling for the U.S.) needs to hear from you.  Our collective voice as a community can help decision makers prepare better safety mechanisms and response plans.

This will also be a great opportunity to voice your opposition to new offshore drilling which our Federal Government is currently considering along the east coast and sensitive parts of Alaska.  Join Surfrider Foundation activists as we speak out against new drilling and spread the message that offshore oil drilling in not the answer.

Go here to learn more about when and where the hearings are located.  

Environmental Film Series and Speakers Forum

If you live in the Los Angeles area, please join Surfrider Foundation staff as we discuss the 'state of state' for offshore oil drilling in America.  Discussion will begin promptly after film première.   A portion of the donations benefit the Surfrider Foundation's Not the Answer campaign. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Up to 79% of the spill oil still in the Gulf

Contrary to NOAA's August 4th report that most of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill was gone, a new report from five prominent marine scientists at the University of Georgia concludes that up to 79 percent of the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon well has not been recovered and remains a threat to the ecosystem.

The Obama adminstration continues their long running habit of underestimating the severity and impact of the spill, only to be corrected by independent scientists. First they underestimated the rate of the spill , the toxicity of the dispersants, and denied the existence of underwater plumes before claiming the oil was gone.

Read press release here.

News story here.

The complete Georgia Sea Grant/University of Georgia Oil Spill report is available online at http://uga.edu/aboutUGA/joye_pkit/GeorgiaSeaGrant_OilSpillReport8-16.pdf

Figures from the report are available at http://uga.edu/aboutUGA/joye_pkit/GeorgiaSeaGrant_OilChart.pdf.

President Obama (doesn't really) swims in the Gulf

In a stunt that was well covered by the media over the weekend, President Obama made a big deal about swimming off the coast of Florida on Saturday and declared the Gulf area's beaches "open for business," trying to show by example that a region hit by the BP oil spill was safe for tourists to enjoy.

However, there is a catch. Obama didn't really swim in the Gulf. Instead, it turns out the President swam in St. Andrews Bay, a freshwater bay that is fed mostly by adjoining creeks and springs and wasn't nearly as affected as the beaches off the coast of Louisiana.

Yet another stunt to try and down play the severity and impact of the gulf oil spill.

Monday, August 16, 2010

ESPN Highlights Pro's Thoughts on the Oil Spill

Life after the ASP World Tour is an interesting one. For one thing, you're still a surfer even if you're not in the Top 44. It's not like you hang up the board with the jersey. You certainly don't just loose the passion. In fact, some of the most inspiring and popular surfers today are Dream Tour alumnus. It also gives you time -- time to think more deeply about the world around you, time to raise a family, time to teach others to surf.

Recently there has been 1 particular prosurfer become the poster child for talking about the impact oil to our coasts and recreation.

To read more click here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tell the Senate to Respond to the Gulf Spill Now!

A couple of days ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the plug on the Senate’s efforts to pass a series of offshore oil drilling reforms. This is extremely disappointing news in the wake of America’s worst environmental disaster and just after the House of Representatives passed the CLEAR act, which would have put necessary response and reforms into action. Tell the Senate to get over their partisan bickering and take responsibility to ensure we can respond to the Gulf spill and prevent another oil spill disaster of this magnitude from ever happening again.

Read more here...

Take Action! Click here to tell the Senate they must act to respond to the Gulf spill - this delay is unacceptable.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

4.9 Million Barrels

Today, federal officials released a revised estimate of the flow rate and total amount of oil spilled during the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

They estimate that the flow rate varied from 62,000 to 53,000 barrels a day over the 87 days that oil was spilling.

The new estimates reflect the collaborative work and discussions of the National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG), led by United States Geological Survey (USGS) Director Marcia McNutt, and a team of Department of Energy (DOE) scientists and engineers, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Note, the serious underestimates made by Coast Guard in the first weeks of the spill.

Read more here, here & here

Monday, August 2, 2010

I can see CLEARly now...

On July 30th, the United States House of Representatives passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010 - the CLEAR Act. Surfrider Foundation supports this bill’s provisions that respond to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and tightens regulatory oversight of offshore oil drilling.

The bill would also establish the ORCA (Ocean Resources Conservation and Assistance) fund, which is the first annual fund dedicated to ocean conservation. We also support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which as part of the CLEAR Act would provide consistent and permanent funding for wilderness resources such as parks, beaches and waterways.

In addition to setting up conservation funds, the other "highlights" of the bill include:
  • Integrated reform of oil and gas drilling sector with improved safety and oversight of oil drilling.
  • Lifting the current $75 million cap on liabilities related to oil spills, as well as incorporating key elements of the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010.
  • Reform by statute the failed Minerals Management Service (MMS), which was also ordered to be reorganized by the Obama Administration executive order earlier this year. The reform changes the name of MMS to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and includes restrictions such as the “revolving door” provision aimed at preventing conflicts of interest and corruption in the government agency charged with overseeing the oil industry.
  • In addition to the overdue reforms, the bill also repeals provision of current law that have allowed hundreds of projects to be permitted without careful scrutiny under categorical exclusions.

Unfortunately, the bill sponsors and supporters conceded to a last-minute amendment by Congressman Charlie Melancon (D - LA) that will lift the current six-month deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. This deepwater moratorium was enacted by President Obama after the Deepwater Horizon spill and has been the subject of much litigation in the 5th Circuit. Obviously, the environmental community is displeased with this concession amendment in the bill, but overall it is still a CLEARly good bill.

While the House version of the CLEAR Act passed by a vote of 209 to 193, the Senate version of the bill (S.3663) awaits action by the Senate. If it passes, both houses would return from August recess to negotiate a compromise bill to send to the President.