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Offshore Drilling: What Oceana Does

arctic sunset

Oceana is working to prevent the expansion of offshore oil drilling. Where drilling is already occurring, such as in the Gulf of Mexico, Oceana is working to improve safety and regulation in order to prevent spills, small and large, from occurring in the future. Based on the direct impacts of oil to ocean wildlife, human health and local communities and its contributions to climate change, Oceana recommends the following:

- Reinstate the pre-existing moratoria for offshore oil production, including the protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska.

VICTORY! In December 2010 it was announced that for the areas previously opened for offshore drilling, they would now be closed to drilling in the next five-year plan! This moratorium closes the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Pacific to the threats of offshore drilling.

- Improve offshore drilling safety and regulation to prevent future spills from occurring. In the two years after the BP disaster, little progress has been made in improving offshore drilling safety and regulation as shown in our report card and safety report. By bringing this inaction to light, Oceana aims to clarify just how “safe” offshore drilling really is today, and how important it is that these problems be fixed.

- Begin the development of a comprehensive conservation and energy plan for the Arctic  that provides a transition from oil to renewable energy and conservation.

The plan should include a comprehensive scientific assessment of the health, biodiversity and functioning of Arctic ecosystems, as well as the benefits and consequences of specific industrial activities.

Ongoing oil and gas activities must be stopped and a precautionary, science-based approach applied to all oil and gas leasing, exploration and development activities in Arctic waters to determine if those activities should be conducted and if so, when, where and how.

- Promote energy efficiency and low carbon fuels. Energy should be conserved at every opportunity, including through improved fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks, airplanes and ships. Provision of cleaner fuels and investment in efficient mass transit should also be priorities. Incentives should be provided to individuals, institutions and corporations to reduce their oil and other fossil fuel consumption.

- Prioritize the development of offshore wind energy in place of offshore oil drilling using financial mechanisms such as loan guarantees and tax credits. Such funds should be extended to manufacturers of necessary technology, construction firms and where needed to prevent bottlenecks that could limit the development of renewable energy.