Where the Candidates Stand on Offshore Oil

Today’s arguments being made by the Offshore Oil Industry about proposed new exploration and drilling leases off the Atlantic coast remind me of the Bill Murray movie ‘Groundhog Day’ where everything keeps repeating itself. Their insistence about safer new drilling technologies, tens of thousands of local jobs and how oil is compatible with environmental protection, tourism, fishing and other coastal activities sounds like the exact echo of the arguments we heard in California in the 1980s, the last time the Feds tried to open up large swaths of coastal waters to drilling. Of course these ‘get rich quick at no cost’ claims are as fallacious today as they were 30 years ago. Like the happy ending of Groundhog Day however the growing opposition to proposed lease sales up and down the Atlantic coast also reminds me of the popular uprising that defeated the Reagan Administration’s attempt to drill off the West Coast. It’s all about the love, of the existing beaches and coastlines where people live, work and play.

In just the last few weeks this new wave of opposition has grown even larger, from protests in New Jersey led by the state’s two U.S. Senators, to the number of coastal towns and cities where resolutions against offshore drilling have passed (over 100). Following up on last May’s Blue Vision Summit Hill Day where delegations from 24 states lobbied Congress against any new offshore drilling, the marine conservation group Oceana held a coastal summit and lobby in D.C. in January with several hundred East Coast activists, outspoken mayors and celebrities like Ted Danson and Kate Walsh. Last week was the Surfrider Foundation’s turn, with a third round of citizen lobbying against oil drilling that included recreational ocean users and a surfboard signed by 1,000 beachfront —> Read More