Monday, December 13, 2010

The Oil Industries Haven't Learned

The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one.

The industry and its well-paid allies say that delaying drilling will increase America’s dependence on foreign oil. That ignores a simple truth: A nation using one-quarter of the world’s oil while controlling only 3 percent of the world’s known reserves cannot drill its way to independence. The estimated 7.5 billion barrels the eastern gulf and Atlantic coast are thought to contain are just about what this country consumes in a year.
Read more from this excellent NY Times editorial.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Attend Stand Lands Commission Hearing and Advocate for the Protection of Santa Monica Bay.

Chevron's Marine Oil Terminal in Santa Monica Bay is up for lease renewal before State Lands Commission. Chevron is asking for a 30-year lease.  Concerned citizens, and environmentalists, (including the Surfrider Foundation) have taken a reasonable stance and are advocating the lease terms be shortened from 30 years to 10 years.  We are also advocating that California State Lands Commission (“CSLC”) thoroughly evaluate alternatives for this project and properly identify infrastructure and oil terminal technology that would minimize risks (including a massive oil spill). 

An oil spill in Santa Monica Bay is un-mitigatable and would be disastrous to the marine environment, the citizens who live and recreate on Los Angeles County beaches, our local economy and tourism, water quality, and the health of marine life. According to the DEIR, “there is a reasonable possibility that operation of the Marine Terminal offshore loading facilities during the 30-year lease period will cause an oil spill.”  Due to the large risk involved with operating a Marine Terminal in Santa Monica Bay this project and its associated EIR should research environmentally superior alternatives as “such an oil spill could significantly affect the physical and biological environments” of Santa Monica Bay.  

We have already seen the catastrophic effects of an oil spill earlier this year in the Gulf of Mexico – oil spills happen frequently, and Chevron’s Marine Terminal does not have a perfect record. We cannot underscore the real risk of an oil spill in Santa Monica Bay, and how important it is for the California State Lands Commission (“CSLC”) to thoroughly evaluate alternatives for this project and properly identify infrastructure and oil terminal technology that would minimize the risks.
A shorter lease would allow Chevron to update their oil spill prevention and response plans after lessons have been learned and evaluated from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition, a shorter lease term would also give the CSLC, Chevron, and NOAA the opportunity to better evaluate trends in vessel calls to the Marine Terminal, as well as the environmental impact of any increase in vessel traffic at the Terminal and Santa Monica Bay, especially the impact on marine mammals. 

Join us on Dec 10 in asking for a shortened lease. 

The meeting starts at 10:00 AM and the item is #47.


"All Hands on Deck" Pick up the Phone for the Gulf - Tuesday, December 7

Congress is now back in session. But, will they act for a healthy Gulf?

Next Tuesday, December 7th, please make a call to tell Congress that the Gulf needs a Regional Citizens' Advisory Council to help prevent future disasters and that Clean Water Act fines paid by BP should go towards restoring the coast.

We need all hands on deck for Gulf Coast recovery. Pick up your phone and make a call to your legislator!

The United States Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121

Who is your Senator? Go here

Who is your Congressperson?  Go here.  

What should you say?

Ask to speak with your Representative/Senator. They should transfer you to their office, and if they are not available, just leave a message with the operator or secretary. Then you can use the talking points below.

* Hello! My name is ________________, and I'm calling to ask (Representative/Senator)_ to make a commitment to the Gulf.

* The BP Drilling Disaster spewed 180 million gallons of oil and tons of toxic dispersant into the Gulf of Mexico and much of it is still out there. This disaster is severely impacting the jobs, lives, and futures of millions of Gulf Coast residents.

* In response to the disaster, I urge you to support the creation of a local Citizen's Advisory Council that will give Gulf citizens a voice in making sure the oil industry does not repeat the mistakes that lead to BP's Drilling Disaster.

* Also, please hold BP accountable for their violation of the Clean Water Act and guarantee that the penalties are used to fund restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

* It will be a long road to restoration, and the government needs to stay focused on the disaster and environmental impacts that are just beginning to play out. It is the only way to ensure that the people and places affected by the disaster are made whole again. Thank you.

Gulf Shores During Spill. Photo:  Lyle W. Ratliff/ Reuters. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Surfrider Foundation Issues Official Statement on Offshore Drilling Ban

Today the Obama Administration announced that it will be banning new offshore oil drilling along the continental US for the next seven years. The Surfrider Foundation applauds this decision and holds it up as a major victory for our nation’s oceans and coastlines, and for the local communities who depend on them for their livelihoods. The Surfrider Foundation is particularly proud of their 20,000+ activists who send letters and messages to President Obama asking for the reinstatement of the executive moratorium on offshore drilling. Even as hundreds of Gulf Shore communities continue to struggle to recover from this nation’s most devastating environmental disaster, today’s decision underscores the importance of grassroots mobilization to protect our nation’s natural resources. America must permanently ban all new offshore drilling, end the harmful practice of seismic testing and continue to move towards clean and renewable energy.

Obama announces no new drilling in Pacific, Atlantic & eastern Gulf

Today, the Obama administration announced that there will be no new offshore oil drilling in federal waters in the Pacific, Atlantic and Eastern Gulf for the next seven years.

This is a major victory for all those who have fought hard (see NTA partner list) to prevent new offshore drilling since the federal and executive moratoriums were not renewed in the fall of 2008.

Until today, the last 2 years have been full of bad news.

At the 11th hour the Bush administration proposed opening all coasts to drilling.

Despite massive opposition and no real evidence domestic drilling would help solve our energy crisis, in March 2010 the Obama administration proposed open vast tracts of ocean to offshore drilling.

We all know what followed... the largest offshore oil spill in world history.

Thankfully, Salazar and Obama seemed to have learned from the Gulf oil spill, listened to the science, and the continued public opposition to new offshore drilling and have decided that there will be no new offshore drilling lease tracts opened in the Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf for the next 7 years.

Although this is great news and a major step towards protecting out coasts from the threats of offshore drilling, some really critical issues remain. This recent announcement potentially opens the Atlantic to harmful seismic testing and allows for new drilling in Alaska. Further, we cannot forget that hundreds of Gulf Shore communities continue to struggle to recover from this nation’s most devastating environmental disaster.

Read the Department of Interior's press release and supporting documents here

Read an ABC news story here.