Washington, D.C., Dec. 1, 2010 -- The U.S. Department of the Interior announced today that it would not include the Atlantic, Pacific or the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in its new Five-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program. These areas were being considered for oil and gas development, and the Administration had previously indicated support for exploration in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the Eastern Gulf, though Congressional action would be needed in that area. They also announced the start of a new process to reconsider drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea.
Oceana Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpless offers the following statement:
“As we saw this summer, offshore oil drilling cannot be done safely. It wrecks fisheries, kills the jobs that depend upon them, and contaminates beaches. This decision is a wise and sensible step to protect Florida, the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast from an inevitable disaster from expanded drilling. It’s great to see the government acting in a strong, clear and far-sighted way to protect the oceans – and the people who work and depend on them.
We also commend the Obama Administration for committing to a new analysis of Shell’s proposal to drill in the Beaufort Sea. This builds on President Obama’s commitment to science and preparedness. It also reflects the undeniable truth that we are not ready to drill in the Arctic.
Allowing expanded ocean oil drilling is like allowing campfires in national parks in the dry season. There’s no way to do it safely, and all it takes is one out-of-control fire to wreck the whole park.
Oceana opposed expanded oil leasing before BP lost control of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Governments from both parties had imposed drilling moratoriums for more than twenty years. This decision is a very welcome return to common sense.
The oil companies have shown that their safety assurances are entirely unreliable. It’s terrific to see that our government has learned this basic lesson. Everyone who loves the beach, loves seafood, loves seabirds, dolphins and abundant, healthy oceans has a reason to celebrate today.”
Oceana’s team of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America, Europe, South and Central America. For more information, visit http://na.Oceana.org.