Blog Tags: Offshore Drilling
Ted Danson is a member of Oceana's board of directors, and has been active in the fight against offshore drilling for decades. This guest post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
I haven't heard news this good in a long time. The Obama administration's announcement to protect the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and both U.S. coasts from offshore drilling as part of the next five-year plan is a massive win for our oceans and every living thing that relies on them.
What's more, the administration said it would reconsider Shell's proposal to drill in the Arctic's Beaufort Sea, a sign that the president's commitment to science and preparedness were not just lip service.
The decision is a reversal of the plans President Obama announced in March -- before the largest environmental disaster in our nation's history began staining the Gulf of Mexico black.
In a huge victory for the oceans and Oceana, this afternoon Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that in the new five-year drilling plan, no new offshore drilling would be allowed in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The Eastern Gulf of Mexico will be protected from offshore oil and gas exploration for the next seven years.
These areas were being considered for oil and gas development, and the Administration had previously indicated support for exploration in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the Eastern Gulf, though Congressional action would be needed in that area. They also announced the start of a new process to reconsider drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. This is a step in the right direction, but there is still more on the table and more that must be done to protect the Arctic Ocean.
Oceana has been working for many years to ban offshore drilling, and this victory provides an important step in the right direction towards protecting our oceans from the dangers of offshore drilling, and moving towards cleaner and safer alternative sources of energy.
Tomorrow Oceana board member Ted Danson will testify against offshore drilling in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska (more specifically, Lease sale 193). Danson, a long time ocean advocate, believes that the Arctic is not ready for offshore development. There is a lack of baseline science to determine if offshore drilling can be conducted safely in the region, and there is neither the infrastructure nor the response capability to respond to a large spill.
This past week Danson visited the Arctic community of Barrow, Alaska. Accompanied by Oceana’s Pacific Director Susan Murray, Mike LeVine and myself, Ted visited with Mayor Edward Itta of the North Slope Borough, Director Taqulik Hepa of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Chairman Harry Brower of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, and other officials. Oceana hosted a community meet-and-greet where Danson took the opportunity to meet and learn from coastal residents, while sharing his stories and connections to the ocean.
Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme couldn’t be more relevant to us and all you fantastic ocean activists: water.
Water is also an especially poignant theme given the timing. Next Wednesday is the six-month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill dominated the news -- and this blog -- for several months, and nobody’s sure what the long-term effects will be on gulf ecosystems.
And yet, just a few days ago, the Obama administration lifted the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling several weeks earlier than planned, and several months before the release of studies about the effects of the oil spill on the gulf.
As Oceana’s pollution campaign director Jackie Savitz said of the decision, “This is an incredibly disconcerting and unjustified move, that could open the door for the next great oil disaster. Oil spills are common. The question is not whether there will be another spill but when.”
But not all the news the past few months has been negative. Yes, the gulf has endured the worst environmental crisis in our nation’s history, but there are signs of hope. Momentum on offshore wind power is building, for one thing.
The answer is blowing in the wind, and we have a new report to prove it.
Oceana’s new report, Untapped Wealth, is a comprehensive analysis that shows how focusing our investments on clean energy like offshore wind would be cost-effective, more beneficial to job creation, and better for the environment and ocean in a variety of ways than offshore oil and gas exploration and development.
Here are a few of the key findings from the new report:
*Delaware, Massachusetts and North Carolina could generate enough electricity from offshore wind to equal current electricity generation, entirely eliminating the need for fossil fuel based electric generation.
* East Coast states such as New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina could supply 92%, 83% and 64% of their current electricity generation with offshore wind, respectively.
Here’s Dustin’s latest dispatch from the boat, along with some beautiful photos from a dive near Port St. Joe, Florida:
Under typical weather conditions, it should have taken the divers only an hour and a half to reach the 3-5’s area on the 42-foot Oceana Longitude this morning. But because of rough seas, the divers decided to divert from the course when they realized that it would take nearly twice as long to reach the location. Instead, they visited Marquardt’s Barge, approximately 10 miles from where the Oceana Latitude is anchored in Port St. Joe.
Oceana board member and actor Ted Danson was featured yesterday in Parade Magazine, which many of you probably receive along with your Sunday newspaper.
Ted tells Parade about his decades-long involvement in ocean conservation. And while he is quite knowledgeable about the issues plaguing the oceans, he says, “I am an actor. My job is to stand next to the experts and focus attention on them.”
Actress Sarah Shahi is a rising star in Hollywood, and she also happens to be one of Oceana’s newest and most fervent celebrity supporters.
You might recognize Shahi from the Showtime series “The L Word,” where she played Carmen, a bilingual production assistant who moonlights as a DJ. She has also appeared in the films “Old School,” "For Your Consideration,” and on the TV shows "The Sopranos,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Frasier” and “Alias.”
But when she’s not acting, she also plays the part of activist. This summer, she learned about our Stop the Drill campaign surrounding the Gulf oil spill and it struck a chord with her. On her Facebook and Twitter pages, she encouraged her supporters to take action with Oceana to stop offshore drilling. She changed her profile photo to a picture of herself holding a sign that read “Stop the Drill,” and she encouraged her supporters and friends to do the same.
Just in time for Secretary Salazar’s visit to the U.S. Arctic, today our colleagues in Alaska released the results of a new nationwide poll on offshore drilling. The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, shows that Americans overwhelmingly support a precautionary approach to offshore drilling.
According to the poll, 88 percent of the American public thinks it is important for there to be a science-based approach to decision-making and for response capabilities to be in place before any drilling occurs, even if it slows the timeframe for oil drilling.
Breaking news: another rig has exploded in the Gulf. Deja vu all over again?
The AP reports that an offshore oil rig has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, west of the Deepwater Horizon.
The blast was reported by a commercial helicopter company about 9:30 a.m. this morning. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats are en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.
It's unclear whether the structure is a production platform or a drilling rig or whether workers were aboard.
We'll keep you updated as we find out more.
- Creature Feature: Leatherback Sea Turtle Posted Mon, September 29, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Oceans Get a “D’ for Ocean Health, Beluga Whale Population Faces “Catastrophe,” and More Posted Wed, October 1, 2014
- Video: Leonardo DiCaprio Speaks up for the Planet at UN Climate Summit Posted Fri, September 26, 2014
- Live Action Role-Play for the Baltic Sea: Finding New Ways to Address Environmental Troubles Posted Mon, September 29, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Giant Cuttlefish Decline Remains a Mystery, President Obama Creates World's Largest MPA, and More Posted Thu, September 25, 2014