Yesterday the Obama administration issued a new moratorium on deep-water offshore drilling through Nov. 30 in order to ensure that oil and gas companies implement safety measures to reduce risks.
Oceana’s senior campaign director Jackie Savitz commended the president for the decision in an AP article, and had this to say about it:
“The Administration has no choice but to put a hold on offshore drilling. New drilling poses major risks, which we simply can not take, especially while thousands of victims of the ongoing drilling disaster continue to wait for an end to this oil and gas nightmare.
Rachel Guillory is Oceana's Campaign Organizer in the Gulf region. She sent us this dispatch.
Last month, a number of Louisiana organizations hosted a two-day rally at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. The rally, called “Love Your Coast”, was the collaborative effort of a handful of local student organizations and environmental groups.
One of the goals of this rally was to pass a resolution through the state legislature, which was drafted by Devin Martin and Darrell Hunt of the Sierra Club Delta Chapter. The resolution asks our political leaders to:
-Urge all state and federal authorities to commit all resources to stopping the leak, and protecting, cleaning, and restoring our shores;
-Urge the state to use all legal means to get all affected individuals and businesses swiftly and justly compensated;
-Present a strategy for the prevention of another drilling disaster and it's economic consequences by prioritizing economic diversification, clean energy development, and safer and more environmentally stringent drilling regulations.
At yesterday’s TedxOilSpill, I spoke to the crowd about the questions I hear most from people who don’t see eye to eye with me on why the disaster in the Gulf is our call to action.
Here are my responses to the naysayers -- feel free to use these with any clean energy skeptic you come across.
1) Isn't the Deepwater drilling disaster just like an airplane crash? We don't shut down aviation when a plane crashes.
No. In an airplane crash, most of the victims are those who were on the airplane. In this case, most of the victims are the millions of people living in the Gulf. This is more like the guy who built a campfire in the dry season, against regulations, and burned down the national forest and all the towns and cities alongside it. That's why we have regulations against building campfires during the dry season: Not because every camper burns down his campsite, but because all we need is one. We have laws against dry season campfires, and we should have laws against ocean oil drilling.
2) There are 3600 drilling platforms in the gulf. Are you going to shut them all down?
We're not calling for a shutdown of the platforms, just of drilling. Once the wells are drilled, the risks go down. The pumping can continue, but the drilling has to stop.
3) So then isn't this just a deep-water problem? Can't we continue in the shallow water?
Ocean drilling in shallow water is also very risky. One of the top three oil drilling disasters of all time, Ixtoc 1, was in 160 feet of water. And last August, the Montara rig blow-out near Australia, which took 11 weeks to control, was in just 250 feet of water.
After watching and reading news reports and blog posts about the Gulf oil spill for more than two months, I was wondering if anything new could be said about the catastrophe.
As I found out at yesterday’s TEDxOilSpill conference, the answer is a resounding yes. Scientists, entrepreneurs, anthropologists, activists, musicians and writers came together to vent, and to try and wrap their heads around how this could have happened, and to bat around solutions, immediate and long-term.
Over and over, I heard riffs on a theme: this is an unprecedented disaster, and we are still in the thick of it. We don’t know how bad it will get, or what the long-term effects will be. And now is our moment to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless fired off a list of ten myths about the oil spill and offshore drilling, and Oceana campaign director Jackie Savitz told the crowd that “it is time to tell the pusher (Big Oil) that we’re going clean.”
It was an intellectually and emotionally exhausting day – several presenters were brought to tears during their presentations.
Across time zones and oceans, a single wave in solidarity against offshore drilling spread around the globe this past Saturday.
At 12:00PM local time, Hands Across the Sand began in New Zealand and continued on to Hawaii more than 12 hours later. Thousands of people joined hands on beaches across the world to draw attention to the need for clean, sustainable energy.
In Washington, DC, supporters joined hands at the White House to show their solidarity with Hands Across the Sand, the grassroots organizers of the global event. Ethan Nuss of the Energy Action Coalition rallied the crowd of over 100 on Pennsylvania Ave Saturday afternoon.
From Monday’s Sydney Morning Herald:
"Well, to quote Tony Hayward, he has got his life back, he would say," [White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel said of the outing at the yacht race, alluding to an earlier remark by Hayward that incensed political Washington.
Emanuel added: "What's more important is, do the people down there in that area have their life back? Do they have their livelihood back?"
For the second time in a week, actress Kate Walsh spoke out against offshore drilling on Oceana’s behalf. Yesterday she appeared on ‘Morning Joe,’ where she discussed her new off-Broadway play, “Dusk Rings a Bell” (including a funny anecdote involving a hearing aid) -- and she encouraged viewers to Stop the Drill.
Thanks for the support, Kate!
So far more than 96,000 people have signed our petition to stop offshore drilling. That's nothing to sneeze at by any means, so thanks to everyone who has signed so far!
We still have quite a ways to go to reach our goal of 500,000 signers, though. Let's start by reaching the 100K mark -- add your name to the growing list and then spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail if you haven't already.
This coming Saturday, June 26th, thousands of people will join hands -- literally -- on beaches around the world in opposition to offshore drilling. Will you be one of them?
Hands Across the Sand isn’t about politics. It’s about protecting our oceans, coastal economies and marine life from the disastrous effects of offshore drilling.
Participating is easy. Just go to your beach on June 26 at 11 AM in your time zone. Form lines in the sand and at 12:00, join hands. It’s a peaceful, simple way to send a message to state legislators, Governors, Congress and President Obama: It's time to end offshore drilling and transition to clean energy.
The movement started in Florida this past February, when thousands of Floridians representing 60 towns and cities and over 90 beaches joined hands to protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida.
Check out this video from the event:
Join hands with us and draw a line in the sand against offshore oil drilling.
TED conferences “bring together the world's leading thinkers and doers for a series of talks, presentations and performances.” So it was only a matter of time until TED tackled the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Topics will include: mitigation of the spill and the impending cleanup efforts; energy alternatives; policy and economics; and new technology that can help us build a self-reliant culture.
The presenters will include the following experts: