Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
If you love your local waterways or oppose offshore drilling, we have an event for you. Hands Across the Sand is the premiere worldwide event to promote a clean energy future and to end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. Since 2009, their events have brought thousands of communities together in all 50 states and in 44 countries around the world to stand up for their most treasured places.
Last night, D.C residents might have noticed an unusual display outside of popular downtown landmarks like Union Station, the Postal Museum, and The National Gallery of Art. Leading up to the fourth anniversary of the BP Gulf oil disaster, Oceana staff teamed up with The Illuminator to promote our “Drill, Spill, Repeat?” message, which calls on the Obama administration to stop offshore drilling in the Atlantic before it starts.
Nobody who lived through it will ever forget the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy. Strong storm surges flooded lower Manhattan, destroyed homes and businesses, and wreaked havoc along the entire coastline of the surrounding tri-state area. The storm caused an estimated $68 billion in damage, making it one of the most costly storms in United States history. Only Hurricane Katrina was worse. Today, more than a year later, many areas in the region are still recovering.
As mentioned in our recently released Wasted Catch report, whales, dolphins, porpoises and other marine life are victims of bycatch, which is the catch of non-target fish and marine animals. Whales can become entangled in nets or trail fishing lines and gear that wraps around their fins, causing injuries and distress as the animals struggle to swim and reach the surface for air.
Yesterday was a big day for little fish. The Pacific Fishery Management Council, the federal body responsible for managing most U.S. West Coast fisheries, took another step toward implementing comprehensive measures to protect the ocean food web. In its first “ecosystem initiative,” the Council is working to prohibit new directed commercial fishing on currently unmanaged, unfished forage species in the federal Pacific Ocean waters (3 to 200 miles) offshore Washington, Oregon, and California.
Shell and other oil companies are focused on the Arctic Ocean as a potential new frontier for energy development. Despite the lack of adequate baseline information and any proven technology for responding to a spill in icy Arctic waters, United States government regulators have repeatedly made decisions to allow leasing and exploration activities and have granted necessary approvals. The company’s push to drill and government acquiescence put at risk coastal communities and vibrant ecosystems filled with iconic animals such as bowhead whales, walrus, and polar bears.
The United Nations recently released a report on the impacts of global climate change, which describes the effects as “severe, pervasive and irreversible.”
The aftermath of the March 22, 2014 oil spill in Galveston, Texas has revealed some shocking truths about the oil and gas industry and how it can devastate communities. For starters, Galveston averages nearly one spill each day. Additionally, the bay has lost more than 35,000 acres of coastal marshes from groundwater pumping. It is a wonder that coastal citizens allow such destruction to take place, especially when considering that Galveston is in the heart of Texas’s fishing industry.
In December of 2012, Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, ran aground during a winter storm. Yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard released the results of their investigation into the incident, criticizing Shell for poor management and decision-making. In a press release, the Coast Guard states that the “most significant factor” in the grounding was “the inadequate assessment and management of risks.”
The Senate Finance committee gave a strong bipartisan show of support for domestic offshore wind energy yesterday by voting to extend the critical investment tax credit. This vote resurrects a crucial incentive for this nascent clean energy industry and offers a great chance to catapult the industry into the mainstream and allow companies to plan successful projects that take advantage of the nation’s vast offshore wind potential.