This week, Oceana's corporate partner Nautica invited us to Key West Race Week to spread the word and gather support for our opposition to Congressional efforts to open up Florida’s coasts to offshore drilling.
In the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009, there’s a proposal that would open up currently protected areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.
Why is this proposal such a big deal? I’ll give you a few reasons…
1. Currents: the Florida and Loop currents in the Gulf spread vital nutrients to marine life off Florida’s west coast, so if the currents are exposed to oil, it could expose Florida’s beaches and marine habitats to oil contamination.
2. Habitats: Florida’s mangroves and corals provide habitat for over 40 bird species, over 500 fish species, sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, sharks and commercially-important shellfish like spiny lobsters, oysters, clams and shrimp. These habitats are particularly vulnerable to oil.
3. Climate Change: As we continue to use oil, we are contributing to coral death from ocean acidification and coral bleaching, as well as more frequent and stronger storms, and increased sea level rise.
4. Myths: Expanding oil drilling into protected areas will not lower gas prices, or get us energy independence. There is simply not enough oil to do that. Promises of royalty money to the state are also greatly exaggerated. This drilling will however, threaten Florida’s resources and its coastal economies.
Thanks to Nautica, Premiere Racing and some committed volunteers, we collected hundreds of petition signatures against more oil drilling, but we’re still combating a ton of misinformation. To get the facts, go to oceana.org/oil.
You can also add your name to our petition here.