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Kate Slusark’s Blog

At midnight: offshore oil rigs can go up, gas prices won't go down

Kate Slusark

Posted September 30, 2008 in Moving Beyond Oil, Reviving the World's Oceans, Solving Global Warming

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Like so many people - to me, there is no better place for a complete mental escape and recharge than the beach. There's just something incomparably relaxing about basking in the sun, sleeping in the sand, and bathing in the salt water (only enhanced by sipping on a margarita).

But at midnight tonight, Big Oil is disturbing my peace.

photo of beach oil spill sign

The nearly 30-year-old ban on drilling off U.S. coasts will be lifted, after empty promises from Big Oil that it's going to ease the pain in Americans' wallets due to high gas prices.

Oil rigs can now intrude on the horizon of my serene ocean views, spills can threaten my swims and the surrounding wildlife (I can't help the flashbacks of oil-soaked birds from the Exxon-Valdez catastrophe), roads and drilling infrastructure can tear up the wetlands, dirty the air and overpower the sound of crashing waves.

Yes, the oil rigs can go up three miles from the shore. But no, gas prices will not go down, and our oil addiction will not be cured. Why?

  • We can't drill our way out of this problem - the U.S. has less than three percent of the world's oil.
  • It's not even a temporary fix - we won't see a drop of new oil for 10 years - and that's according to the Bush Administration, who led the call for lifting the ban.
  • Drilling just keeps America dependant on oil - good for Big Oil, bad for you.

Drilling won't save us from high gas prices. The only way we can protect ourselves from paying a fortune for gas is by using less gas.

We need a real solution that will help America survive the energy crisis and create new jobs during these tough economic times. The government should be investing in clean energy options instead of focusing on dead-end drilling offshore. If it started on the right track today - in 10 years (when we'd get that first drop of new oil), we can instead create millions of new jobs, head off the worst of climate change, and clean up the air.

The next President and the next Congress will have the chance to reinstate the moratorium on offshore drilling that has protected our coasts for decades. It's up to them to break free from Big Oil's choke-hold, so we can implement innovative energy solutions, end our dependence on oil, and re-power America.

And at the same time hold on to our precious beach escapes.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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