The Beacon: MattDundas's blog

An Eventful April for Oceana's Climate and Energy Team

Mock oil spills like this one were staged around the country in April to demonstrate disastrous effects of oil drilling on the oceans. Photo: Sarah Schwimmer

Oceana’s climate and energy campaign had an eventful April. In our ongoing effort to stop East Coast offshore drilling before it starts, we’ve been working hard to prevent the oil industry from taking the first step toward drilling: seismic airguns to explore for oil.

The specifics of seismic airgun testing are worth understanding if only because the oil industry seems to be counting on Americans’ lack of knowledge about this highly specific technology in order to get a foothold in some ocean areas that have been protected from drilling since the Reagan administration.


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Join Us for Hands Across the Sand on June 25!

Remember Hands Across the Sand, last year’s explosively popular international demonstration against offshore drilling and for clean energy? The second annual event will take place on June 25 at noon local time all over the world, and Oceana is playing a central role.

Last year’s HANDS brought more than 100,000 people to beaches and parks to join hands for fifteen minutes in a display of solidarity.

Instead of passing laws limiting offshore drilling or raising the liability cap in the event of another major spill, Congress is going in the opposite direction and voting for more offshore drilling, including a major expansion to the East Coast.

Bills being considered now would actually make drilling even less safe than it was before the spill. This fact, along with increasing popular demand for renewable energies, promises a large showing of ocean-lovers to stand up for what’s right.

We’re drawing a metaphorical line in the sand against offshore drilling, will you join us? Check out the details or sign up to organize an event in your community at www.handsacrossthesand.com.

Matt Dundas is a campaign manager at Oceana; he serves on the National Advisory Council for HANDS and attended the 2010 event outside the White House.


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Climate Bill Wilts; Planet Gets Hotter

For those of us who had been holding out hope for a comprehensive bill that would curb U.S. climate emissions and promote renewable energy, disappointment and frustration have officially set in.

The Senate has scrapped plans for an attempt to push through a climate bill this summer.

This is especially disturbing because the proposals being considered were designed to meet the industry halfway by using market-based solutions that allow companies to reduce emissions in the way that they believe is most cost-effective. This approach diverges from the approaches used before in the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, for example. But industry still shot it down. 

Sadly, this is a classic example of “political reality” versus “real reality”.


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President Obama Almost Gets it Right

In his address to the nation last week, President Obama almost got it right.

He described his vision for America’s clean energy future, which includes wind, solar, and other renewable sources, in addition to energy efficiency.

But his vague entreaties for progress on this most crucial of issues left out vital specifics and he stopped frustratingly short of saying what is on the minds of so many of us in the wake of the tragic and seemingly endless disaster in the Gulf: it is time for a ban on offshore drilling.

When he introduced the creation of a commission to investigate the causes of the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, the president displayed the same stale mindset that has plagued so many before him: that through improved technology we can make safe what is inherently an unsafe, dirty, and dangerous practice.

We don’t need to improve offshore drilling: We need to ban it.


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New Orleans Says 'Clean it Up!'

There is anger and bewilderment in New Orleans. Five years after Katrina comes the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, which continues to gush 210,000 gallons of oil into the gulf every day.

Last Saturday’s rally, organized by the Sierra Club with the support of Oceana as well as local groups such as the Gulf Restoration Network, drew several hundred supporters to Lafayette Square Park with the mantra, “Clean It Up!”

Speakers included local fishermen, wildlife experts, and politicians. The message to BP and the federal government was clear: cap the spill, clean it up, and never let it happen again.


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Momentum Builds for New Drilling Moratorium

gulf oil spill satellite

A satellite image of the spill taken May 1. Credit: NASA.

While the Deepwater Horizon rig was exploding, burning, sinking, and spewing, the federal government’s Minerals Management Service was, coincidentally, holding a series of meetings on the impact of oil exploration along the southeast Atlantic coast. They got much more than they bargained for.

In my ongoing mission to identify and plug in local activists for Oceana’s “Stop the Drill” campaign, I attended the meetings in Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington, meeting fabulous people who were already geared up for a big fight on drilling even before the news of the Deepwater Disaster had spread.

The first meeting I attended was held on April 21, just one day after the explosion. Attendance was fairly low, at around 30 people, but I immediately noticed a trend that would grow ever more pronounced as the meetings went by: attendees who were not paid to attend were overwhelmingly there to voice their opposition to drilling off the East Coast.


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