American Public Overwhelmingly Supports Science and Response Capability Before Offshore Drilling - Oceana

American Public Overwhelmingly Supports Science and Response Capability Before Offshore Drilling

Press Release Date: September 7, 2010

Location: Juneau, Alaska

Contact:

Anna Baxter

Today, Oceana released the results of a nationwide poll conducted by David Binder Research.  The results show clearly that the public strongly supports a precautionary approach: 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.  When asked about drilling in the Arctic, more than 70 percent were concerned about the risks.  A summary of initial findings are attached, and David Binder Research is available to answer questions about the poll. 

“Americans no longer want to accept big oil’s ‘trust me,’ especially not in the Arctic Ocean, which is a remote region subject to the harshest environmental conditions,” said Susan Murray, Oceana’s Pacific Director.  “The public is saying that while petroleum is today’s reality, renewable energy sources are tomorrow’s promise, and they want to begin realizing and investing in that promise now.”

In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, it has become obvious that we are not prepared to drill offshore.  We do not have a good understanding of the worst-case scenario, let alone what we would need to control or clean it up.  We lack the basic science about the ocean necessary to understand the risks and how we might respond to them.  Against that backdrop, the Department of the Interior is thinking about how to move forward in both the Gulf and in Alaska, and Secretary Salazar is visiting America’s Arctic today.

“The previous administration’s drill-at-all-costs approach to the ocean led to controversy, litigation, and—as the Gulf spill unfortunately demonstrates—the very real risk of disaster,” said Michael LeVine, Pacific Senior Counsel for Oceana.  “As the Obama Administration moves forward, responds to the courts, and reconsiders decisions, it must listen to the clear call for science and demonstrated response capabilities.”

“Americans do not want to play oil roulette in the Arctic Ocean,” said Dr. Chris Krenz, Arctic Project Manager for Oceana.  “The Administration should work together and with local communities to institute a plan that protects Arctic marine ecosystems and subsistence activities before offshore drilling is allowed to move forward.”