NOTE: It’s best to add to or modify the script below to personalize if possible. Add other information you are aware of or are concerned about. You could also, for example: Say why it’s important to you; Mention ways that you benefit from the coastal environment; Say how you were affected an oil spill; Say how you are affected by climate change and the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Please include the references in your comment; they are listed at the end.
I live in coastal California. Along with 69% of all Californians and most of the American people, I oppose opening our coastline to new oil and gas leases. New leases would harm one of the world’s richest marine environments that supports a thriving fishing, recreation and tourist economy. It would harm coastal cities in the path of inevitable spills. And it would increase loss of life, injury, cardio-pulmonary illness, and healthcare costs due to air and CO2 pollution and the increasing frequency of major disasters and sea-level rise caused by climate change.
A decision to open the coast for offshore exploration does not reflect economic realities and would harm the existing robust coastal economy. California’s economy is ranked 6th in the world. The coastal economy, alone, provides more than 400,000 jobs and contributes $20 billion to the GDP through tourism, recreation and fishing, far outweighing any jobs or economic gains new drilling could provide. Clean energy jobs outweigh all fossil fuel jobs in California by 6 to 1. The coastal economy would be harmed by construction of oil and gas platforms, pipelines and conveyances, the sonic disturbances of exploration (harming marine life), oil spills and climate-caused disasters. Even if all of the resources off California were exploited, the oil would last for less than 2 years at current consumption rates. Consumption is declining with increasing clean energy development. Americans do not need this oil and gas.
Oil spills are inevitable - and routine - with an average of 1000 reported per year according to Coast Guard records. Spills, disasters, injuries and death are even more of a risk now that the administration has proposed withdrawing the protections established after the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill. In the four years following the BP oil disaster, the federal government reported that offshore drilling accounted for 1,063 injuries, 477 fires and explosions,11 spills of over 2100 gals and 11 fatalities. There is no economic, national security or public health reason to open the coasts to drilling. Rather, the data and science show that doing so will harm California’s and the nation’s economy, security and health. (References below.)
California Public Policy Institute: http://www.ppic.org/blog/tag/offshore-drilling/
US Coast Guard, Polluting Incidents In and Around U.S. Waters, A Spill/Release Compendium: 1969-2011 (Dec. 2012)
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Incident Statistics and Summaries”.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Outer continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2017-2022, Final Programmatic Environmental Impact STatement (Nov. 2016) Vol I: Chpts. 1-6
Hauer, M., Evan, J. and Mishra, D. (2016). Millions projected to be at risk from sea-level rise in the continental United States. Nature Climate Change, 6(7), pp 691-695.
United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, California 2014, Employment: Tourism and Recreation.
Beitman, Andy. Sierra Club. Report: Clean Energy Jobs Overwhelm Coal, Oil & Gas in 41 States and D.C.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, 2016.
United States Energy Information Administration. How much oil is consumed in the United States?
Center for Biological Diversity, “Oil and Oceans Don’t Mix.”
Comment to the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Energy Management to oppose plans to open the coasts to off-shore oil and gas drilling. Click here or on the “Comment Now” link on this page to add your comment.
You may also attend a DOI BOEM Listening Session on February 8 in Sacramento at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I Street. Bring your comments with you. Environmental organizations are protesting starting at 2:00 pm.
The federal Bureau of Energy Management (within the Department of Interior [DOI]) has proposed plans to make more than 98 percent of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) resources, including permanently protected areas, available to consider for oil and gas leasing during the five-year period beginning in 2019. Under the plan, nearly the entire OCS would be available for potential oil and gas discovery, including the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council this action is part of the most sweeping industrial assault in history on our oceans, marine life, coasts and all they support. It would put every American coastal city at risk of another BP oil-spill type disaster.
There is no energy security need for this action - only industry profits. According to the NRDC, the US produces 12.9 million barrels of crude oil and natural gas liquids daily, yet exports 6.2 million barrels of crude and refined products. The US now produces more oil than any time since the 1970’s (NRDC). This occurs at a time when the effects of climate change - including ocean warming, acidification and sea-level rise - dictate that we should reduce our reliance on these fossil fuels.
Oil and gas production at sea puts oceans, sea life and coastal areas at risk of blowouts, explosions, disastrous spills, and the sonic blasts used in exploration that can be dangerous, even lethal, to whales and other marine life. Expansion would threaten the critical marine breeding areas off the coast of California. The effects of climate change are already wreaking havoc on shellfish, coral reefs, and other foundational forms of life at sea.