This afternoon President Obama issued a 5-year offshore oil drilling plan for 2012-2017, in which he doesn’t allow any Atlantic Ocean oil and gas drilling!
To review, in the final years of the Bush Presidency, and in the initial stages of Obama’s tenure, the Atlantic Ocean was put on the table for offshore oil drilling. Many have bought into Big Oil’s hype that drilling in places like Virginia and potentially the NY/NJ Bight would “decrease the price of gas and make us more energy independent.” Clean Ocean Action proved otherwise – citing the government’s own reports, we spread the word near and far that you could drill every drop of oil in the Atlantic and you would only reduce prices by $0.03 (a fraction of the cost of postage)…in 2030!! These miniscule benefits would take two decades of oil activities off our beaches to have anything to show for it!
Then, as we all know, the BP Deepwater Horizon spill happened…and continued to happen…and continued to happen. Discharging over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf – forever changing the ecosystem and economy of the region. Despite the spill, President Obama continued insisting we needed to drill in the Atlantic! (read more here)
The House of Representatives went along with the President’s plan; despite the best efforts of 12 of New Jersey’s 13 Representatives, and most Democrats from New York, the House passed a bill that also would open the Atlantic to drilling. (read more here)
On the Senate side, New Jersey Senators Lautenberg and Menendez have been long-time advocates for keeping the Atlantic Ocean oil-free, and introduced multiple bills to curtail Obama’s proposed Atlantic Ocean activities. (read more here)
Governor Christie has, throughout his time in office, continuously opposed oil drilling in New Jersey’s ocean and in nearby parts of the Atlantic that would, if anything went wrong, threaten New Jersey’s coast!
Based on the outrageous disaster in the Gulf, and the then-ongoing plan to continue pushing ocean oil drilling to deeper canyons and into oceans like the Atlantic, 2010 saw the first “Hands Across the Sand” worldwide rally for no more oil drilling. In Asbury Park, NJ, the Clean Ocean Action- and Surfrider-sponsored event brought over 1300 people to the beach to hold hands in solidarity against drilling.
Thanks to the “Hands” event, your voices, with many others across nation, convinced President Obama to reversed course.
According to the Department of Interior fact sheet issued today, the 2012-2017 oil drilling plan for our oceans “does not include lease sales in the Atlantic region” primarily because of “the current lack of infrastructure to support oil and gas exploration and development, as well as spill preparedness and response” – essentially there is no oil in the Atlantic, so the region isn’t equipped to respond if something went wrong.
Tuesday was a good day for the Atlantic Ocean!
Clean Ocean Action will keep working with other public interest groups and state and federal government agencies to ensure that, in 2017, the Atlantic Ocean stays closed to oil drilling!
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