Earth Action, along with other grassroots organizations, have been working for years gathering petition signatures and educating the public on the environmental impacts associated with offshore and onshore drilling and exploration, including seismic testing, while encouraging the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources at both at State and Federal levels. We are asking that you join us in Defending the Gulf!
Historically, the State of Florida has been exempt from offshore drilling due to the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 that placed a moratorium on drilling in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Now the current administration wants to open up Florida waters to drilling and we say NO!! And here’s why:
Florida’s economy depends on a vibrant and sustainable environmental community. Oil and gas exploration and drilling causes not just adverse impacts offshore, but onshore as well with the construction of support infrastructure such as roads, pipelines, refineries and the like. We don’t want these impacts to our waters or on our land!
Florida is the Sunshine State and should therefore rely on solar (and wind where applicable) as our main energy source. It’s now time for all of to transition to renewable energy sources, including transitioning fossil fuel workers into another industry. Florida will not serve as a sacrifice zone for the rest of the nation or world as a supplier of oil.
Floridians love our beaches, marshes, rivers, tidal areas, all of our coastal areas. We will not allow the destruction of our beautiful coastal environment to be adversely impacted by offshore drilling. We will Defend the Gulf and we start by saying NO to drilling off the coast of Florida!!! Please sign the petition here
Earth Action supports the placement of the Gulf of Mexico in a moratorium for perpetuity.
Here’s some background and history of the issue.
Brought forward in 2019, HR 1941 and HR 205, would have brought much needed protection to our coastal waters.
HR 1941: Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act
This bill prohibits the Department of the Interior from offering any tract for oil and gas leasing or preleasing in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf planning area (North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and the Straits of Florida) or the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf planning area (Washington/Oregon, Northern California, Central California, and Southern California).
HR 205: Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act of 2019. This bill permanently extends the moratorium on oil and gas leasing, preleasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Why – We support this legislation for the reasons at outlined in article in the Bradenton Times published in January 2018, it still holds true today.
1. National Security – Americans consume approximately 25 percent of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. As a matter of national policy, it seems strategically reckless to continue to deplete our nation’s very limited oil and gas resources. The more domestic oil we consume, the less oil we will have in the future and the less secure our nation will be.
2. Oil Exports – The Department of Energy predicted 200,000 barrels of petroleum could be produced per day at the height of offshore oil production in Florida. This is roughly 1/9th the amount of oil exported each day to foreign nations. At the current rate of oil exportation, we will have exported the equivalent of 40% of the oil reserves predicted to be offshore of Florida before the first barrel of oil is ever extracted.
3. Oil Leases – 90 million acres of federal lands are currently leased to oil companies. Less than a quarter of these lands are being used for oil and gas production. Flooding the market with huge area-wide offshore oil leases will drive down the price of oil and gas leases and reduce competition. The American taxpayers will lose out on billions of dollars of oil revenues. The glut of oil leases being offered will provide the oil industry an opportunity to lease large blocks of submerged lands at bargain basement prices.
4. Florida’s Economy and Tourism – Florida’s economy is based on having clean beaches and a healthy environment, not oil refineries, storage tanks, oil platforms and pipelines. Tourism employs about 1 million people living in Florida. Tourism generates about $65 billion-a-year for the state of Florida.
Whatever oil revenues are realized is small when compared to the cost in damage one oil spill will have on Florida’s economy, environment and job employment. A proper economic assessment of offshore oil drilling can only be made when the following are considered: Costs of the loss of recreation and tourism dollars, the irretrievable commitment of chemicals used in the separation and processing of oil and gas; the hazards associated with transportation of hazardous and volatile chemicals associated with oil exploration and processing, the increased costs associates with reduced national security, the costs of the health impacts associated with increased air and water pollution, and the costs of the unavoidable impacts to Florida’s coastal and marine environment .
5. Prices at the gas pump – Offshore oil drilling does not reduce gas prices at the pump. California produces more than 600,000 barrels of oil per day and Alaska produces more than 1,300,000 barrels per day. Both states have higher gas prices at the pump than does Florida. Floridians can expect to pay more for gas at the pump because offshore oil drilling will give legislators the incentive to raise gasoline taxes to balance the state budget. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has stated that increasing “access to the Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.”
6. Oil Spills – The ability of the oil industry to respond effectively to such spills is questionable at best. A significant environmental impact from even a minor oil spill of 100 barrels or less can cause significant damage. Should oil reach the Florida coastline, it will render many areas uninhabitable to plants and animals, destroy egg and larvae of marine organisms and affect marine life and food chains. Petroleum hydrocarbons are extremely toxic even at very low concentrations.
7. Hurricanes – Florida perhaps faces a greater potential for the occurrence of natural hazards than any other state. Florida ranks first in hurricane occurrences and is the most vulnerable to the devastating effects resulting from coastal storms. Hurricanes can and have caused oil spills. The U.S. Government’s Minerals Management Service states that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged or destroyed 113 oil platforms, 457 oil pipelines and caused 124 offshore oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 9,000,000 gallons of oil were spilled from onshore tanks and pipelines as a result of the two storms. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were over 9 million gallons of oil released from six major and five medium spills. There is no reason to believe that future oil drilling will protect Florida’s economy and environment from the potentially serious environmental damage associated with offshore oil drilling and onshore oil spills associated with hurricanes.
8. Onshore Health and Environmental Impacts – Oil and gas operations require roads, storage tanks, pipelines, processing facilities, and other industrial facilities. These can severely damage beaches, wetlands, and coastal habitats, with consequences for coastal economies that depend on tourism, recreation and fishing. Oil and gas processing plants can result in the degradation of air quality. Onshore gas processing activities typically emit constant levels of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and total suspended particulates. Processing and oil separation require large volumes of water. The addition of one or several gas processing plants in Florida will have significant impacts on local water supplies. The oil and gas industry should not be permitted to externalize the costs of the air, water and land pollution they create at the expense of the environment and the public’s health.
9. Energy Conservation – It is in the best interests of our environment, economy and national security to develop truly renewable energy resources such as solar, and the sooner the better. The best option cheaper than any new energy supply and causing no increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, is energy conservation and increased energy efficiency. Increasing the average U.S. auto efficiency to 40 miles per gallon would save 10 times the estimated oil and gas reserves off Florida. Improving home insulation across the country would save about five times the estimated reserves off the Florida Coast. Conservation is a cheaper and healthier way for the country to buy time to develop renewable energy sources than the measures that will have to be employed in the development of offshore oil reserves.
10. Offshore Environmental Impacts – In addition to pipeline blowouts or leaks causing serious environmental problems, laying offshore pipes will cause increased turbidity of marine waters, destruction of sea grass beds and resuspension of contaminated sediments. Fish resources will be impacted by coastal and marine environmental degradation, pipeline trenching, and offshore drilling discharges associated with routine oil and gas drilling operations. Oil drilling will place the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, an area of high environmental sensitivity and marine productivity, at risk. Presently the region supports numerous species of wildlife, major commercial and recreational fisheries and several species of endangered animals. Seismic surveys require the use of air guns, which use explosive blasts to map rock formations on the sea floor. Sound from these underwater blasts can be detected for thousands of miles. Seismic testing can have profound, even fatal effects. Accidental drilling and transportation events have the potential to impact small to large numbers of sea turtles. Considering the real dangers of offshore oil drilling, our legislators should commit to developing clean alternative sources of energy. The beauty of our beaches and the productivity of our estuarine areas will ultimately prove to be more important than oil industry profits.
Source (above from): https://thebradentontimes.com/reasons-not-to-drill-for-oil-offshore-of-florida-p19415-137.htm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/05/2018
Contact: Mary Gutierrez, Earth Action, 1.850.549.7472, email@example.com
Dear Secretary, Zinke and BOEM
FLORIDA – On Thursday, January 4th, Secretary Zinke and the Trump Administration announced the Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program that will allow for oil and gas drilling as close as 3 miles to shore along the entirety of the coast of the lower 48 states including the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific. This new drilling plan makes 90% of the nation’s waters available for oil companies to drill. As residents of the Gulf of Mexico, where we have experienced way too many catastrophic disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the BP oil disaster, as well as daily oil spills and all-too-regular fossil fuel related accidents, we are compelled to write this letter urging you to rethink this deeply misguided direction for the country’s energy policy.
In this moment, we have an unprecedented opportunity to transition our country towards clean energy – where we are currently seeing the highest levels of economic growth, fiscal health, and success – and away from the use of fossil fuels, which are finite, limited, and failing industries. If BOEM and the current administration’s aim is to move from “simply aspiring to energy independence to attaining energy dominance” as stated in the proposed plan, it is of critical importance to shift the balance of investment from decaying, aging, and obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure and processes to new, growing, and innovative sustainable technologies.
“We have a vision.” says Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Action and part of the AGIP collaborative, “We want to be the part of the United States that creates the largest renewable energy market and use that has ever been seen. We want complete dependence from fossil fuels while developing a competitive and lasting job market for those transitioning from the fossil fuel industry. This isn’t just about protecting the environment, it’s about public health and moving our country towards sustainable, clean energy sources.”
We respectfully ask that you rethink the entire current draft proposed five-year program for offshore drilling. We must be stewards of the environment and protect our natural resources. We must be humanitarians and protect our people from the negative and harmful impacts of oil and gas exploration and drilling, including seismic testing. Your jobs are to represent all constituents, not just the elite and privileged few. Please immediately retract the draft proposed five-year program for offshore drilling, further putting our waters at risk for disaster and continuing our path down the dead-end street of fossil fuels.
We have moral responsibility to change course – Pensacola News Journal – 02/10/2018
On Thursday, January 4th, Secretary Zinke and the Trump Administration announced the Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program that will allow for oil and gas drilling as close as 3 miles to shore along the entirety of the coast of the lower 48 states including the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific. This new drilling plan makes 90% of the nation’s waters available for oil companies to drill. As residents of the Gulf of Mexico, where we have experienced way too many catastrophic disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the BP oil disaster, as well as daily oil spills and all-too-regular fossil fuel related accidents. We need to rethink this deeply misguided direction for the country’s energy policy.
In this moment, we have an unprecedented opportunity to transition our country towards clean energy – where we are currently seeing the highest levels of economic growth, fiscal health, and success – and away from the use of fossil fuels, which are finite, limited, and failing industries. If BOEM and the current administration’s aim is to move from “simply aspiring to energy independence to attaining energy dominance,” (BOEM, 2018), as stated in the proposed plan, it is of critical importance to shift the balance of investment from the fossil fuel industry to new, growing, and innovative sustainable technologies.
We have seen firsthand the harmful impacts associated with offshore drilling. As we have unfortunately learned offshore drilling poses not only environmental impacts, but economic ones as well. “After the BP oil spill, the Gulf coastal tourism industry lost about $22.7 billion, and the area’s commercial fishing industry lost $247 million.” (Zachos, E., 2018). We are still recovering from the environmental, economic, and health impacts.
Oil spills aren’t the only adverse effects from drilling, there are the daily impacts associated with drilling operations including the use of drilling muds and produced waters that are created during the extraction process. These by-products can also negatively impact workers. We no longer want to be impacted by offshore drilling, exploration, and seismic testing. The impacts associated with each of these are too great of a risk for us to take especially when we have alternative energy sources.
We have a moral and ethical responsibility to change the course we are on for the survival of our people and our planet, now and for future generations. We have the opportunity for a just transition to an environmentally sustainable and economically vibrant future. Together we can make these changes. If you’re interested in helping, contact Mary Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org
Zachos, E., (2018). National Geographic. Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan—What You Need to Know. Retrieved February 7, 2018 from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/trump-administration-announces-offshore-drilling-plans-spd/
Patin, S., (1999). Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry. Waste discharges during the offshore oil and gas activity. Retrieved February 7, 2018 from http://www.offshore-environment.com/discharges.html
Institute of Medicine (US). Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health: A Summary of the June 2010 Workshop. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. 3, Short- and Long-Term Effects on Human Health. Retrieved February 8, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209920/
A RESOLUTION TO EXPRESS EARTH ETHICS’S OPPOSITION TO OFFSHORE DRILLING ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING SEISMIC AIRGUN BLASTING – 01/01/2018
Only united do we stand – Pensacola News Journal – 07/11/2018
We are living in a time of great sorrow. In a world where the value of life appears to no longer exist, not just for humans, but for all species. Where differing opinions do not warrant discussion and resolutions, but anger and division. Where ignorance fuels hatred, racism, and discrimination for “those not like us.” Immigration, mass shootings, climate change, time’s up, pick your poison, pick your passion, we have so many to choose from. These are all nonpartisan issues. The conservatives aren’t right, but neither are the liberals in their opinions on these issues. We need to come together to find healthy, meaningful solutions. It is up to us, the people, “to be the change we want to see.” We must be successful to survive. We need to believe again that all life has value no matter what form, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religious belief, sexual preference and identity. I’m not like you either (and I’m OK with that). — Mary Gutierrez, Pensacola.