Thursday, September 18, 2008

Senators, vote against offshore drilling

This week, Congress voted to open up our coastlines to offshore drilling. In the wake of two major hurricanes, oil spills and gas price spikes we've already seen in recent weeks, this vote basically places a bet on the big oil companies at a time when we should be working our proverbial butts off to develop energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources.

This coming week, the Senate votes on offshore drilling. Each one of us still has time to change our luck. Thousands of Greenpeace supports like me have written to express our opposition to lifting the Congressional moratorium on offshore oil drilling; I hope you will consider adding your voice here before it is too late.

This is the text of my letter. It contains some parts of Greenpeace's template language:

Most Americans might favor offshore drilling, thinking it's a solution to our current energy crisis, but it is not - as you well know. In all the US, there isn't enough reserves to supply the amount of oil we consume in a year. It will also cause massive enviornmental damage in a time when we should be fighting with everything we've got to preserve the last bastions of our natural world. You are elected to office not only to serve the people, but in moments like these to GUIDE THEM, and offshore drilling solves nothing. It is but a fleeting panacea to a much larger issue, one you MUST address logically and carefully as elected officials: developing alternate energy options that do not pollute our planet.
To build more oil rigs and wreck our already-fragile oceanic ecosystems, pandering to oil companies and to those Americans who unfortunately merely seek an immediate solution to their personal dependence on oil is NOT sound government policy. I voted for you because I trusted in your judgement. I have been especially disappointed in Nancy Pelosi's backflip on this issue when polls showed how many Americans favored offshore drilling. Hello? How many Americans favored the war? And how many years later did it take to prove most of us were wrong? The very same dilemma confronts us now and I expect you to do the right thing and PROTECT OUR COASTLINES FROM ANY MORE DRILLING, INCLUDING DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC NATIONAL REFUGE.

I am appalled by this country's current leadership; I am ashamed by our utter lack of leadership in the overwhelming face of evidence that we are directly responsible for the accleration in global warming. Does the ocean need to warm up to such an extent that the polar caps melt and flooding tides engulf New York before we'll awaken to our own indifference and stupidity?

The U.S. burns close to one-quarter of the world’s oil, yet we only have about three percent of the world’s oil reserves. We will never be able to drill our way to lower gas prices or energy security, even if we drilled every last drop of oil from this country’s onshore and offshore reserves. Information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that new oil drilling won’t significantly affect oil prices; it’s clear that the only benefit will be to oil companies’ profit margins.

Global warming caused by the burning of oil, coal and other fossil fuels is literally causing the Arctic to melt at unprecedented rates. Arctic sea ice extent reached an all-time low in September of 2007 and this year’s low is coming in at a close second. New offshore drilling and other fossil fuel development will lead to more global warming impacts already responsible for heat waves, more intense hurricanes, floods and severe drought.

This country needs a bold new energy future that pivots us away from fossil fuels, ends tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, and invests resources in renewable energy, mass transportation, energy efficiency, and cars that go further on a gallon of gas. Current proposals to open up the OCS to oil drilling do nothing to stop our addiction to oil or lower prices at the pump and will only exacerbate global warming.

I urge you to vote against any bill that gives away more of America’s coastal waters to oil companies or provides subsidies to the dirty coal, tar sands or oil shale industries. Americans deserve real solutions to the energy crisis like investments in efficiency, cleaner cars, and renewable energy technologies that save citizens money on energy bills, create new jobs, and help solve the climate crisis.

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