Thinking about the ecological disaster unleashed by the Exxon Valdez is something that fills me with blind rage and deep sadness. So imagine how I feel to hear about what the U.S. government has in the pipes, right this minute. It’s known as the Minerals Management Service’s five-year Outer Continental Shelf leasing program. This Bush/Cheney proposal will allow new leases for offshore drilling in areas that are currently protected under the Congressional Moratoria on offshore drilling.
Offshore drilling contaminates marine environments, routinely spilling oil, drilling lubricants and hazardous liquids into the water and releasing toxic fumes. Pollutants like mercury and persistent hydrocarbons contaminate important marine habitat near platforms and massive oil spills can kill seabirds, sea turtles, fish and marine mammals. It’s bad for the ocean, bad for the planet, and directly effects our health as well.
According to the World Wildlife Federation, in order to meet our ever-increasing energy demands the “extractive industries” are increasingly moving into new areas–including remote areas with fragile ecosystems and unique biodiversity. Yet prospecting, drilling, and transport seriously damages sensitive marine areas and disturb marine species. Uhg, sigh, growl.
I really try to keep up on the news and maneuverings at the White House, but proposals like this seem to be constantly slipping under the radar. Why don’t we hear about these things? Isn’t this a democracy? Don’t we have a say in this?!
It seems unconscionable to consider allowing unnecessary ecological mayhem, all in the name of energy. The irony here is that the consumer won’t even reap financial relief in energy costs from this offshore drilling–the question begs to be asked: If not us, the consumer, then who will profit off this blatant disrespect of the environment? (Fun fact: Exxon Mobil earned $1,300 per second in 2007.)
So, yeah, I find it pretty maddening. And since this is a democracy (right?) we can at least sign this petition to protect our marine ecosystems from offshore oil spills.
Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Green and Healthy Living