A couple of weeks ago, the Obama Administration announced its plans to open up most of the east coast to oil and gas exploration. If you live near the coast and want to speak out against this terrible proposal – nearly two years to the day from the start of the BP oil disaster – now is your chance.
The Administration is holding a number of public hearings in affected states, from New Jersey to Florida. Hearings in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina took place last week, and continue up the coast this week along the following schedule:
- April 24, Norfolk, Virginia, Hilton Norfolk Airport at 1 pm and 7 pm EDT
- April 25, Annapolis, Maryland, Doubletree Hotel Annapolis at 1pm and 7pm EDT
- April 26, Wilmington, North Carolina, Hilton Wilmington Riverside at 1pm and 7pm EDT
- April 26, Wilmington, Delaware, Sheraton Suites Wilmington at 1pm and 7pm EDT
- April 27, Atlantic City, New Jersey, Atlantic City Convention Center at 1pm EDT
If you go, you’ll have the opportunity to speak against the proposal, or just support those who do. You can speak about its impacts on wildlife and fisheries – described here – or about how you feel about your state becoming the next stop on the “Drill, Baby, Drill” roadshow.
What does the administration’s plans mean for the coast?
High-energy oil and gas exploration is not only a gateway drug to offshore drilling but a major assault on our oceans in itself, with far-reaching impacts to wildlife and fisheries. Acoustically, it’s the equivalent of blasting dynamite in your neighborhood every 10 seconds for days, weeks, and months on end. Over the next eight years – according to the administration’s own estimates – this constant pounding would injure up to 138,500 marine mammals and disrupt their feeding, calving, breeding, and other vital activities more than 13.5 million times.
Exploration has also been shown to dramatically depress catch rates of commercial fish on a vast scale. Catch rates have fallen by as much as 40 to 80% over areas the size of Rhode Island – prompting fishermen in other parts of the world to demand compensation.
And the irony is, opening the east coast to large-scale oil and gas development will do just about nothing to curb high gas prices. Even if we were to fully develop all of our recoverable offshore oil reserves everywhere off the U.S., it would only lower pump prices by 3 cents – and take 20 years to do so, according to the Department of Energy.
If you aren't able to make the hearings, you can email your comments by May 29 to [email protected].
But please consider going to a hearing – and let the Administration know that oil and gas exploration and “Drill, Baby, Drill” don’t work for your state.