Every morning I wake up and scan the headlines for environmental news. This morning one of the first things I saw was a CNN headline that really upset me: Obama Energy Plan Would Open Atlantic and Gulf Drilling.
I read the story. In a nutshell, the new plan will lift a 20 year ban on drilling off the coast of Virginia. It will also allow drilling about 125 miles off the coast of Florida. I decided to read a little more, heading over to the actual press release from the White House. Yup, it’s true. All true. Here’s a quote from the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar: “By responsibly expanding conventional energy development and exploration here at home we can strengthen our energy security, create jobs, and help rebuild our economy,” said Salazar. “Our strategy calls for developing new areas offshore, exploring frontier areas, and protecting places that are too special to drill. By providing order and certainty to offshore exploration and development and ensuring we are drilling in the right ways and the right places, we are opening a new chapter for balanced and responsible oil and gas development here at home.”
The part that was most surprising: “Our efforts to strategically open new areas in the Eastern Gulf would represent the largest expansion of our nation’s available offshore oil and gas supplies in three decades.” Wow. Ummm. Wow. You’re going to do something that George W., who seemed to care very little for the environment, failed to do? I just don’t get it.
The plan will bring exploration into new areas such as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and increasing existing exploration in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. But in reality, at least by the way I see it, these deals are just sweetening the pockets of Big Oil.
You see, the U.S. isn’t the entity that’s going to be doing the drilling. The U.S. leases the land to Big Oil and the like. They get to keep what they pull out and sell it to you and me. The deal seems like one big “I scratch your back,” scam. Pres. Obama needs to make friends. The Republicans have been begging to do more drilling. By doing something that, in my opinion, only hurts our environment, it appears as if he’s stockpiling chits for use in future deals with the Republicans.
But what about all the fish, wildlife, and plant life that lives on and around those ocean floors? What happens to them? In the case of the drilling off the coast of Alaska: What happens to the endangered whales that use those areas as migratory paths? How about the salmon and the polar bears? (Here’s a great Washington Post article that explains.) And, Pres. Obama, What the HELL happened to your pledge to create and foster more renewable energy sources?
Maybe I am getting too excited. Maybe, as the Department of Interior press release said — you know, the one I had to call and request since its Web site is down — that exploration will happen before the leases are sold. So maybe, after listening to the indigenous people and the conservationist and the scientists, you’ll realize how stupid this plan is. And maybe by that time you would have used the chits you needed so you can backtrack and decide not to drill in our oceans. You know, the ones we’re killing with plastic? But right now, President Obama, I feel betrayed. And angry. And confused. Part of the reason I voted for you was your staunch support of the environment and your commitment to change Big Oil’s stranglehold on our country. I hope I didn’t do the wrong thing, and I guess I’m just left to cross my fingers that you will — at least in the end — do the right thing.
What do you think of this drilling plan? For it? Against it? I’d love to hear your opinion. Let’s debate, people.