Washington DC - The Administration's new focus on offshore oil drilling diverts resources and attention from other energy strategies which offer far greater promise for creating jobs and building the new clean energy economy the American people are demanding.
"Offshore drilling is another false solution to the nation's current energy woes," said Clean Water Action President, John DeCock. "Drilling now, and in these unique and special places, will do nothing to relieve the burden of high prices at the pump that we're all struggling with," said DeCock. He noted that decreases in demand are what brought prices down from record highs in 2008 and cited the long lead times of a decade or more between initial exploration and when new supplies might eventually reach the market
Given the ever-present potential for environmental catastrophe from even a single offshore spill and the huge economic benefit already being realized all along American coastlines free from polluting spills, this policy represents a step in the wrong direction.
"These [drilling] policies were a bad idea under the Bush Administration, and the only thing that's changed since then is that they're an even worse idea now," said DeCock, "This is a taxpayer-subsidized government giveaway program for the oil industry. Does anyone out there really think that ExxonMobil needs our help right now?"
Clean Water Action has consistently opposed offshore oil drilling over its entire 35-year history and supports strong protections for waters and coastal communities most at risk today, including those along the Gulf Coast, in pristine Alaska waters, near Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay, in Florida and elsewhere.
"It makes no sense to risk catastrophic oil spills on our beaches for oil that will be wasted in inefficient power plants, vehicles and buildings. It's like putting more oil into a leaking storage tank without first patching the holes."
The U.S. should vigorously pursue an energy policy and global warming solutions that make water protection a litmus test for sustainability. Energy technologies that degrade our water, like offshore oil development, need to be replaced with those which preserve and protect it.
Clean Water Action is the nation's leading grassroots environmental organization, with almost 1 million members nationwide. For over thirty years, Clean Water Action has been a leader in protecting America's waters, the public health and empowering people to take charge of their environmental future. www.cleanwateraction.org