Blog Tags: Offshore Drilling
Tomorrow Oceana board member Ted Danson will testify against offshore drilling in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska (more specifically, Lease sale 193). Danson, a long time ocean advocate, believes that the Arctic is not ready for offshore development. There is a lack of baseline science to determine if offshore drilling can be conducted safely in the region, and there is neither the infrastructure nor the response capability to respond to a large spill.
This past week Danson visited the Arctic community of Barrow, Alaska. Accompanied by Oceana’s Pacific Director Susan Murray, Mike LeVine and myself, Ted visited with Mayor Edward Itta of the North Slope Borough, Director Taqulik Hepa of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Chairman Harry Brower of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, and other officials. Oceana hosted a community meet-and-greet where Danson took the opportunity to meet and learn from coastal residents, while sharing his stories and connections to the ocean.
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 answer is blowing in the wind, and we have a new report to prove it.
Oceana’s new report, Untapped Wealth, is a comprehensive analysis that shows how focusing our investments on clean energy like offshore wind would be cost-effective, more beneficial to job creation, and better for the environment and ocean in a variety of ways than offshore oil and gas exploration and development.
Here are a few of the key findings from the new report:
*Delaware, Massachusetts and North Carolina could generate enough electricity from offshore wind to equal current electricity generation, entirely eliminating the need for fossil fuel based electric generation.
* East Coast states such as New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina could supply 92%, 83% and 64% of their current electricity generation with offshore wind, respectively.
Here’s Dustin’s latest dispatch from the boat, along with some beautiful photos from a dive near Port St. Joe, Florida:
Under typical weather conditions, it should have taken the divers only an hour and a half to reach the 3-5’s area on the 42-foot Oceana Longitude this morning. But because of rough seas, the divers decided to divert from the course when they realized that it would take nearly twice as long to reach the location. Instead, they visited Marquardt’s Barge, approximately 10 miles from where the Oceana Latitude is anchored in Port St. Joe.
Oceana board member and actor Ted Danson was featured yesterday in Parade Magazine, which many of you probably receive along with your Sunday newspaper.
Ted tells Parade about his decades-long involvement in ocean conservation. And while he is quite knowledgeable about the issues plaguing the oceans, he says, “I am an actor. My job is to stand next to the experts and focus attention on them.”
Actress Sarah Shahi is a rising star in Hollywood, and she also happens to be one of Oceana’s newest and most fervent celebrity supporters.
You might recognize Shahi from the Showtime series “The L Word,” where she played Carmen, a bilingual production assistant who moonlights as a DJ. She has also appeared in the films “Old School,” "For Your Consideration,” and on the TV shows "The Sopranos,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Frasier” and “Alias.”
But when she’s not acting, she also plays the part of activist. This summer, she learned about our Stop the Drill campaign surrounding the Gulf oil spill and it struck a chord with her. On her Facebook and Twitter pages, she encouraged her supporters to take action with Oceana to stop offshore drilling. She changed her profile photo to a picture of herself holding a sign that read “Stop the Drill,” and she encouraged her supporters and friends to do the same.
Just in time for Secretary Salazar’s visit to the U.S. Arctic, today our colleagues in Alaska released the results of a new nationwide poll on offshore drilling. The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, shows that Americans overwhelmingly support a precautionary approach to offshore drilling.
According to the poll, 88 percent of the American public thinks it is important for there to be a science-based approach to decision-making and for response capabilities to be in place before any drilling occurs, even if it slows the timeframe for oil drilling.
Breaking news: another rig has exploded in the Gulf. Deja vu all over again?
The AP reports that an offshore oil rig has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, west of the Deepwater Horizon.
The blast was reported by a commercial helicopter company about 9:30 a.m. this morning. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats are en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.
It's unclear whether the structure is a production platform or a drilling rig or whether workers were aboard.
We'll keep you updated as we find out more.
In today's dispatch from Dustin, the crew is suddenly surrounded by oil rigs in the gulf:
The Oceana Latitude navigated through a minefield of hundreds of oil platforms (out of the thousands that exist in the Gulf of Mexico) today.
Although Oceana’s experts were aware of the size of the industry in the region, seeing the rigs in person put it into an entirely new perspective. It’s truly dumb luck that we haven't faced more problems up to now. Dr. Mike Hirshfield, Oceana's Chief Scientist said, "Seeing another Transocean deepwater drilling rig poised to resume drilling as soon as someone gives them permission sent a cold chill down my back."
And don’t worry if you haven’t seen one of these rigs for yourself, as Congress and the Obama Administration could be bringing them to a coast near you unless we all join together in opposition of new offshore drilling.
Yesterday, our scientist Matthias Gorny was unsure if he could identify indications of abandoned oil wells on the Gulf floor using the ROV from the Oceana Latitude. But in our dispatch from today, Dustin Cranor has let us know that Matthias has evaluated the ROV footage further - and this time come up with signs of an abandoned well 90 feet underwater. Along an otherwise flat seafloor, Gorny discovered a raised surface approximately three feet high with black sediment excavated by worms, which indicates a presence of hydrocarbons.
Check out this slideshow of images captured by the ROV.
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