When the current Federal administration proposed to open 90% of our nation’s coasts to offshore oil drilling, the groundswell of opposition demonstrated by our coastal communities made a wave of impact. We know that the actions we take today will determine the fate of our ocean and coasts for the rest of our lifetimes, as well as future generations.
That’s why every person who cares about the coast needs to submit comments to stop this dangerous proposal from moving forward! The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is accepting comments from the public on the Draft Proposed Program until March 9th. To make your voice heard, visit www.boem.gov/National-Program/ and submit your feedback today. Your comments don’t need to be long, but should follow the guidelines below for maximum impact:
- Clearly state that you oppose new offshore oil drilling, including lease sales in your specific area.
- Mention the impact drilling would have on the ocean, coasts, plants, animals, and people in your community.
- Provide information on where and how you or your community uses the ocean.
We’ve put together a list of sample comments:
- A recent study by PEW Charitable Trust concluded that a single oil well discharges around 1,500 – 2,000 tons of waste material. Contaminants from oil drilling accumulate on the sea floor; smother organisms and cause malformations, genetic damage, and mortality in fish embryos.*
* “Offshore Drilling and Ocean Impacts” www.pewglobalwarming.org/resources/OCS_oceans_factsheet.pdf
- Since 1969, there have been at least 44 large oil spills (over 10,000 barrels of oil each) in our nation’s marine waterways.*
* NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. 2017. “Largest Oil Spills Affecting U.S. Waters Since 1969.
- Local communities are directly impacted by the reduction in habitat functionality, as it results in the loss of “ecosystem services,” including protection from shore break and sea level rise, water purification, shoreline stabilization, and habitat for coastal and marine wildlife that may be crucial for industries reliant on tourism and recreation.*
*Washington State Department of Ecology. N.D. “Functions and Values of Wetlands”. Access Washington. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/wetlands/functions.html
- The potential of catastrophic oil spills, continued contribution to climate change, and the eyesore of an industrialized coastline, could do significant harm to coastal communities and surrounding regions. The National Ocean Economics Program reports on the importance of economic contributions from coastal states, which are estimated to provide over 80% of the nation’s GDP and employment, with almost of half of the Nation’s GDP coming from coastal counties alone. Additionally, the ocean economy’s tourism and recreation industry singlehandedly provides the largest amount of jobs (71%) to the U.S. economy. In fact, ocean tourism and recreation provides 12 times the amount of jobs to the U.S. economy, compared to offshore oil production.*
*NOAA REPORT ON THE NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CALIFORNIA’S OCEAN ECONOMY, Kildow, J.T., Colgan, C.S., Johnston, P., Scorse, J.D., Farnum, M.G. 2016. “State of the US Ocean and Coastal Economies – 2016 Update” National Ocean Economics Program. Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Center for the Blue Economy. http://www.oceaneconomics.org/Download/
- In California, at recent prices and usage, the oil available off California’s coastline would supply the nation with approximately 13 months of oil.*
*Gravitz, M., Cosgrove, C., and Kirby, M. 2009. “Oceans Under the Guns: Living Seas or Drilling Seas?”. Environment America Research and Policy Center.http://cdn.publicinterestnetwork.org/assets/2a7615c1164506ae0faae02ee7ffbfa0/Oceans-Under-the-Gun-Thurs-AM-version.pdf
- Within the State of California, Mendocino County as a whole generates approximately $361 million in travel spending and supports 6,000 jobs created by tourism.* Our local and state economy would be at risk in the wake of an oil spill. *California Travel Impacts by County 2016 At least 37 marine species have been shown to be affected by seismic airgun noise. These impacts range from behavioral changes such as decreased foraging, avoidance of the noise, and changes in vocalizations through displacement from important habitat, stress, decreased egg viability and growth, and decreased catch rates, to hearing impairment, massive injuries, and even death by drowning or strandings. Seismic airgun noise must be considered a serious marine environmental pollutant.*
*Weilgart, L. (2013). “A review of the impacts of seismic airgun surveys on marine life.” Submitted to the CBD
Expert Workshop on Underwater Noise and its Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity, 25-27 February 2014,
London, UK. Available at: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=MCBEM-2014-01