Blog Tags: Offshore Wind
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.
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 Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has announced Oceana as the winner of its $10,000 contest to find a path to clean energy.
Our plan, “Vision 2020” includes pragmatic, specific recommendations for reducing oil consumption by homes and businesses, power plants, ships and light duty vehicles. The plan offers a menu of actions, with financing options, to achieve the goal of offsetting Gulf oil.
If adopted in its entirety, the plan would result in a reduction of U.S. oil consumption by 26 percent by 2020 and 74 percent by 2035, saving billions of dollars, creating new jobs and giving us more time to avert the worst effects of climate change.
Thanks to everyone who voted for us!
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.
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
That, essentially, is what Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar acknowledged with his approval of the Cape Wind project, the nation's first offshore wind farm, which has been in the works for nearly a decade.
Oceana's chief scientist and senior vice president Mike Hirshfield had this to say about the big decision:
"We hope that today’s decision on Cape Wind will help set in motion a series of actions leading to additional American offshore wind projects. It sends a clear signal to turbine manufacturers and supporting companies that the U.S. means business on clean energy and climate change.”
We have a long way to go on offshore wind in the U.S., but this is a crucial first step, especially in light of this month’s oil spill in the Gulf, which is oozing ever closer to landfall. After crews were unable to stop the oil spill with underwater robots, they are trying a new tack: setting it on fire.
- Drill, Spill, Repeat? Posted Mon, April 21, 2014
- CEO Note: Four Years After the BP Gulf Disaster Posted Mon, April 21, 2014
- Wind Power: Changing the Way We Live off the Earth Posted Tue, April 22, 2014
- Hands Across the Sand Posted Wed, April 16, 2014