The Beacon: Anna G's blog
With gas prices on the rise, the blame game is in full swing. Some in the media and in the government are saying increased drilling will lower gas prices. It turns out this isn’t the first time we have heard this argument, and liberals and conservatives alike agree that it is just not true.
But don’t take my word for it, listen to Fox News!
They are right! No amount of drilling here in the United States can lower the price of a gallon of gas. We just aren’t a big enough supplier, though we’re number one when it comes to demand.
Try as we may, we will never control supply – we can, however, decrease demand. Improving efficiency, promoting conservation, and transitioning to renewable sources of energy like offshore wind are the only ways to achieve a secure and affordable energy future. Using less is the only way to lower the price. Just ask Bill O.
In 2008, he gave his viewers sound advice: “If Americans want lower gas prices, cut back. Sell those SUV’s. Ride a bike when you can. If every one of us bought 10% less, prices would fall fast.”
The House of Representatives succumbed to the pressure of the oil and gas industry yesterday.
The CLEAR Act was intended to improve oil spill response and worker safety, provide funding for ocean conservation and more, but it took a turn for the worse when an amendment offered by Rep. Charlie Melancon, (D-LA) passed.
The amendment overturns President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium as long as certain standards are met.
Today, the Senate stood up for our environment, clean air and scientific decision-making by beating back a resolution from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would have undercut the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
As oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, this resolution would have given Big Oil free reign to continue polluting while tying EPA’s hands from taking any action.
The tanker, badly damaged and in danger of breaking apart, has already spilled 2 metric tons of heavy oil into the shoals off Queensland's coast in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In 2007, the same shipping company, COSCO, was linked to the major spill in the San Francisco Bay.
This is Australia’s third recent major disaster, following the massive oil spill off Queensland and the Timor Sea oil platform blowout. Oil is extremely toxic to marine life and the damage to habitat can persist for years, even decades after a spill.
In the wake of the Obama administration’s recent decision to open up a huge swath of U.S. waters to offshore drilling, this should serve as a warning against adding more oil to our oceans.
Anna Gowan is a policy fellow at Oceana.
A brief update for you on the Timor Sea oil spill:
Today, now 46 days after oil began gushing from a platform in the Timor Sea, efforts to plug the leak have failed. It will take up to four days to complete a second attempt to stop this disastrous spill. Meanwhile, the oil slick has grown so large it can be seen from space.
Check out Skytruth for the latest details.
It has been 35 days since a massive oil rig blowout in the Timor Sea and oil continues to flow steadily into the ocean off Australia. Conservative estimates have the rig spewing 16,800 gallons per day, for a total of more than half a million gallons.
Having already formed a slick the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, oil will continue to leak for up to 45 more days according to PTT, operators of the rig.
This state-of-the-art rig (installed in 2008) is creating exactly the type of disaster that oil companies claim can be avoided with their new, safe and clean technology.
If this is the first you have heard of this disaster, don’t worry, you are not alone! Oceana’s advocates have met with decision-makers who had not heard about it either, even in the midst of negotiating offshore drilling legislation.
It was a swell day on Capitol Hill today, as a wave of ocean bills rolled into Congress. What a great celebration of Earth Day!
In the Senate:
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) reintroduced the National Oceans Protection Act, which is comprehensive legislation to preserve oceans and Great Lakes. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Amendments Act of 2009, which increases funding for the Prescott grant program to assist in saving stranded marine mammals. Last, but certainly not least, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 which would end shark finning in all U.S. waters.
In the House:
Congresswoman and true ocean champion Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) celebrated as her bill H.R. 860, the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization and Enhancement Amendments of 2009, passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee and now heads to the House floor!
If only every day were Earth Day….Congress would be swimming in ocean bills!
The confirmation hearing of Dr. Jane Lubchenco, nominee for NOAA administrator, took place this morning in the Senate Commerce Committee. In addition to responding to questions, she outlined her plans for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Oceana was encouraged to hear that she will strive to restore our nation’s fisheries and marine ecosystems, and to protect and recover our oceans, bays and beaches.
The ice-covered streets and sidewalks were an unlikely backdrop for the Senate’s hearing on global climate change Wednesday morning. Despite the elements, it was standing-room only yesterday as former Vice President Al Gore testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. With the Copenhagen climate conference just 10 months away, Gore urged the Senate to “embrace what science is telling us” and pass Obama’s green stimulus plan, and to move quickly toward establishing a cap-and-trade carbon emissions program.