While a few eco-advocacy groups, like the Pew Environment Group, commended the Obama administration for its oil-drilling decision announced today, the majority, even those that have previously given the President high marks on the environment, are steamed.
Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group’s U.S. Arctic program, said:
We thank President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar for protecting Bristol Bay, one of the planet’s richest marine ecosystems. ... Bristol Bay must be permanently protected for future generations as the home of the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon run and part of a region providing more than 40 percent of our nation’s seafood. With fish stocks declining around the globe, we cannot afford to put Bristol Bay’s vibrant fisheries at risk. ...
President Obama should be commended for proceeding carefully on new Arctic leasing until better spill response capabilities are in place and we know how to protect this sensitive region. ... Thorough science and planning must come before drilling in any marine waters. There should be no new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean until thorough research determines how such development will affect the traditional way of life of Alaska Natives and iconic species like the endangered bowhead whale.
Jackie Savitz, senior campaign manager at Oceana, wrote:
Very funny, Mr. President, but tomorrow is April Fool’s, not today. We can’t imagine that you’d go back on your promise to keep the moratorium on offshore drilling. ...
Oceana disagrees. We can not afford an ‘all of the above’ approach. Expanded offshore drilling will compete with the development of offshore wind for resources like investments, installation ships, technology and maritime expertise, making both oil and wind more expensive and slower to market. ...
Sadly, we are told this is not an April Fool, so we need your help. Let’s remind Obama to keep his promise.Take action now and let him know that offshore drilling is not the way to energy security.
Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:
If we want to boost our domestic oil supply, we should focus on enhanced oil recovery from existing fields, a process that can supply more than 10 times the amount of oil that could be produced by drilling in our oceans over the same period.
Turning back the clock and returning to more offshore drilling, meanwhile, will do little to relieve America’s oil addiction.
According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, drilling in America’s previously closed ocean areas "would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production...before 2030." Even then, "because oil prices are determined on the international market ...any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant."
Offshore drilling would yield little cost or supply benefit, and yet it would pose serious long-term danger to our beaches and marine life. It also threatens commercial fishing, ocean-related tourism, and recreation industries that contributed more than $128 billion to the nation’s economy in 2004 and supported more than 2 million jobs.
In a prepared statement, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, said:
We're very disappointed to see important areas like the Arctic coast and the Mid and South Atlantic stay open to oil drilling.
What we need is bold, decisive steps towards clean energy, like the new clean cars regulations announced this week--not more dirty, expensive offshore drilling.
The oil industry already has access to drilling on millions of acres of America's public lands and water. We don't need to hand over our last protected pristine coastal areas just so oil companies can break more profit records. ...
President Obama has taken important steps to combat global warming pollution and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Our nation's increasing investment in clean energy and efficiency measures make drilling in sensitive coastal areas even more unnecessary.
There's no reason to drill our coasts. We can achieve real energy independence and economic vitality by investing in clean energy like wind and solar and efficiency. This kind of power creates good, lasting American jobs and positions our nation to become a global leader in the new clean energy economy.
The new executive director of Greenpeace, Phil Radford, said:
"Is this President Obama’s clean energy plan or Palin’s drill baby drill campaign? While China and Germany are winning the clean energy race, this act furthers America’s addiction to oil. Expanding offshore drilling in areas that have been protected for decades threatens our oceans and the coastal communities that depend on them with devastating oil spills, more pollution and climate change."
On the web site of the District of Columbia Office of Environment America, Director Anna Aurilio stated:
Environment America is outraged that this administration will substantially increase offshore oil drilling. There is no need to threaten our beaches, wildlife and tourism with oil spills and pollution when we have much better solutions -- putting cleaner cars on the road today that will dramatically cut oil consumption; shifting to plug-in cars powered by the wind and the sun that use little to no oil and investing more in public transportation.
While China and Germany are winning the clean energy race, this act furthers America’s addiction to oil. Expanding offshore drilling in areas that have been protected for decades threatens our oceans and the coastal communities that depend on them with devastating oil spills, more pollution and climate change. ...
"Drilling for oil and gas is still a dirty and dangerous business. Opening much of the Atlantic coast to drilling will threaten the last remaining Northern right whales, endangered sea turtles and vibrant tourism economies from Delaware to Florida.