When then-President Bush lifted the moratorium on offshore oil drilling last summer, the threat of new rigs blighting our coasts seemed imminent. Gas prices were well over $4, and the tide of public opinion had seemingly swung in favor of new drilling. By the time Congress let the moratorium end in the fall, many efforts had shifted to minimizing the impact of any new drilling by restricting locations and methods. For example, Chairman Rahall has the Natural Resources Committee in the House evaluating how and where we should and shouldn't drill, while some conservationists including Ocean Champions are working to secure a dedicated revenue stream for ocean health projects from any lease activity.
Today, the political landscape is still challenging, but there are reasons for hope. The Obama administration and leaders in Congress are stressing the development of alternative, clean energies, including solar, wind and wave power, public consciousness about global warming is rising, and gas prices are more modest. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar placed a six-month hold on the Bush Administration's plan for new oil drilling, and is using that time to gather input from experts and concerned stakeholders. Secretary Salazar has attended three public hearings across the country, with the fourth and final taking place this Thursday at the Mission Bay Conference Center, UC San Francisco (address below).
Thursday's public hearing is the last opportunity for the ocean community to send a clear message to the Obama administration and to Congress that we do not support new drilling. Public opinion is more evenly divided today (more work to be done), so a large turnout of ocean enthusiasts will have a big impact. Ocean Champions encourages all of its members and activists in the San Francisco area to attend the meeting this Thursday, and to rally for the oceans! Can the ocean environmental community prevent new offshore drilling? YES WE CAN!
Time: 8:00 AM, Thursday, April 16
The Ocean Champions' Team
P.S. Concerned ocean activists outside the San Francisco area can still register their views in writing to:
Ms. Renee Orr