Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Bills Introduced to Expand Offshore Drilling

On March 29, three different bills were introduced in Congress by Rep. Doc Hastings (WA) that would expand offshore drilling in the United States. These include the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act which would overturn Obama's recent decision to protect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska's Bristol Bay from drilling through 2017

If you haven't already, please participate in Surfrider's Action Alert in support of the No New Drilling Act and forward to others in your network. This is the easiest way to communicate to your federal representative that you oppose new drilling off our coasts.

There is also a public comment opportunity open through March 31 on the 2012-2017 OCS Oil & Gas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping process. Surfrider is submitting comments as an organization, but we encourage individuals to do so, as well. See suggested talking points below.

Suggested Talking Points:
1. We support the Obama Administration’s recent decision to defer new offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, near Florida’s Gulf Coast, and in Alaska’s Bristol Bay until at least 2017. It’s critical we protect areas that have not been exposed to the risky practice of drilling--not only for the sake of the environment, but also to protect our economy from potential spills.
2. The Oil Spill Commission and the Obama administration have worked to ensure the oil industry is safer and more environmentally sensitive. We greatly appreciate these efforts, and we want to stress that the safest drilling is no drilling. We should work to protect our coasts permanently by reducing our oil dependence while transitioning to sustainable forms of energy.
3. Please consider not approving new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic until after Congress adopts the recommendations of the Oil Spill Commission (see above for important points).
4. For future oil exploration, please consider the harmful environmental impacts of seismic surveying; and equally consider alternatives to seismic testing that will exist in the near future

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top House Republican to offer drilling bill

By Andrew Restuccia - 03/16/11 12:33 PM ET

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said Wednesday he will introduce energy legislation to speed up oil-and-gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and open other offshore regions to drilling as well.

Hastings held a hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s offshore drilling policies. It’s the first in a series of hearings on offshore drilling and gas prices -- issues that have moved up on the Capitol Hill agenda as turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa have driven up energy costs.

“Let me state very clearly that these hearings will lead to action by this Committee,” Hastings said. “As Chairman, I intend to introduce legislation to put the Gulf of Mexico back to work – and I intend to advance that legislation through this Committee. The Obama Administration seems unmoved by thousands of lost jobs, rapidly rising gasoline prices, and the threat these high prices pose to our economy – but this Committee will not sit idly by.”
While Hastings' comment is light on details, it nonetheless signifies that he is readying a legislative push after spending weeks deflecting questions about his specific plans.

To read more click here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who Has the Oil?

This graphic (click on it to expand) is from an article The GOP’s Oil Drilling Pipe Dream appearing in Frum Forum. The article states: "The notion that the U.S., which sits atop less than 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, can drill enough oil to drive down prices if the flow is interrupted from a region with 64 percent of the world’s reserves is a pipedream."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Surfrider Activist Witnesses Baby Dolphin Deaths.

Photo: Chuck Barnes
Surfrider Foundation predicted there would be long-term ecological impacts from the BP spill.  We wrote an article last fall predicting what would happen, but we had no idea there would be such a high rate of mortality among marine life several months after the spill.    By now, we have all heard about dead baby dolphins washing up along the Gulf at ten times the normal rate.  Scientists say the gestation period for dolphins is 11 months, meaning calves born now would have been exposed to oil and dispersants during the spill and while in the womb.

Apparently the federal government is testing the dead animals to determine the cause of death, and the results will be made public in a few weeks.    Here is a video and article about the deaths.

One of our "on the ground activists", Chuck, runs a blog about what is happening the Gulf post spill.  He recently posted some pictures he took.  It is absolutely heartbreaking...however, we thank Chuck for being vigilant and documenting what is happening in the Gulf.