Millions of barrels of oil are utilized in the US daily. And, because of this great demand, the US must keep access to a large supply in US territory at all times. To ensure this, the Trump administration has proposed an offshore drilling initiative along the coastlines of the Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska and Northeast coasts for oil corporations who wish to drill in US coastal waters. This proposal would make it easier for oil companies to buy offshore drilling rights in water territories that have not been open for lease since the 80’s. The main purpose to give the US a greater independence in meeting its growing oil needs.
However, this proposal, if taken into effect, would not only disrupt coastal economies and put marine and animal ecosystems at risk, but it would also taint the idyllic coastlines of the East and West coasts.
It is common knowledge that our overconsumption of oil and gas increases carbon dioxide emissions and the buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, so it is important to be informed about these proposed initiatives and the steps you can take to actively oppose them if you so choose.
Thankfully, at this point in California, this is just a proposal, and it is unlikely that a drilling initiative would pass the deep blue state legislature. Many national acts, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), the Ocean Dumping Act (1972), and the Coastal Act (1976) also present regulations that protect the environment. It is difficult to fathom the proposal’s validity in light of past oil spills that have decimated tourism locations and wildlife. The Deepwater Horizon (2010) in the Gulf of Mexico and the Santa Barbara oil spill (1969) are prime examples of the destruction caused to the environment and the devastation to its wildlife. Currently, 69% of Californians are in great opposition to additional offshore drilling.
But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the proposal does pass. California, Alaska, Oregon and the Northeast would still control the waters from their shore to three miles at sea. While companies would like to transport oil to refineries via pipeline, states are unlikely to approve pipelines that cross their state waters. This would cause companies to likely transport via ship, which increases the likelihood of more spillage and environmental devastation (not to mention the large sums of money companies would have to spend on shipping fees).
But what can we do?
We can help defend our coastlines by contacting our state government with statements of opposition to the initiative. The formal public comment period ended on March 9th, but it’s never too late for action — regulated deadlines never held revolutionaries back! Get a group together, write letters and send emails to your local representative and state legislator that exhibit well-formulated opposition to the proposal.
These letters might include:
WHO you are.
Example: We are a group of high school students who have grown up surfing on the coast.
WHY you are writing.
Ex: It has come to our attention that potential offshore drilling would be progressing on our coastline.
The POSITION you take on the matter.
Ex: We are in great opposition to this proposals validity and purpose.
HOW it will effect you or your community.
Ex: The offshore drilling would not only taint our coastlines, but if there was a spill, the places we surf would be destroyed.
Your REQUEST based on your position.
Ex: We, as citizens of a potential drilling community, implore you to take every possible measure to fight this proposal.
Additionally, researching and attending different oil spill conferences like Clean Waterways taking place April 4th-5th in St. Louis, Missouri, and Clean Pacific in Portland, Oregon from June 19th-21st would be a prime way to get a more in-depth perception for prevention of oil spills.
As world population grows, more resources are needed to sustain our people. Namely, more energy and more oil. It is time to consider widespread implementation of green energy in our country.