Chesapeake Bay Foundation Opposing Offshore Oil Drilling

This is a repost of a thoughtful statement – bottom line the risk reward factor is way off. We are talking about jeopardizing a huge economic engine – our coastal economies for a three year supply of oil and short term money from the sale of the leases.

This isn’t jobs versus the environment. Every honest broker knows a healthy environment is a healthy, diversified and vibrant economy. One oil spill like the one in Australia last summer wipes out whatever short term gains are made by drilling for the 2% of the worlds supply we “might” have. We are spinning our wheels here and should be investing in solar thermal and wind.

In other words any sane management team would put windmills up in the ocean not oil rigs.

Here’s the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Statement
Drilling for natural gas often results in oil discoveries which lead to further oil drilling. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation strongly opposes oil and gas drilling off the shores of Virginia and Maryland. The coastline of Virginia represents the largest, most intact coastal wilderness on the East Coast and has been designated as a UN International Biosphere Reserve, a U.S. Department of the Interior National Natural Landmark, and a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research Site.

The offshore proximate waters of the Atlantic Ocean are as much a part of the Chesapeake Bay system as the great rivers such as the Susquehanna, Potomac, and James. Impacts off shore are impacts to the Bay as sea water floods in twice daily with the tides. Furthermore, numerous Bay species use off shore waters during their lives. The Bay’s iconic blue crab, for instance, floats off shore within a few centimeters of the surface during its larval stage when it is unable to swim away from any type of surface contamination.

Last year, President Obama identified the Chesapeake Bay as one of this nation’s priority waters that need immediate restoration. His May 2009 Executive Order called for a national strategy to significantly ramp up pollution reductions from all pollution sources. Off shore drilling creates a new pollution source, one capable of significant, even devastating environmental damage from drilling, transportation,storage, or refinement. Taken together, the totality of the potential harm is too great a risk for the Chesapeake Bay, which EPA already officially lists as impaired.

The ocean’s waters off Virginia are critical to the Bay system. Just as fresh waters from rivers and streams feed the Chesapeake, ocean water flushes it with salt water. It is this mixing of fresh and salt water that makes an estuary like the Chesapeake. And because far more salt water enters the Bay than fresh water, potential contamination of ocean waters could cause significant harm.

The Chesapeake is an economic engine to this region. Much of that is through its many living resources like rockfish, crabs, and menhaden. Each of these lives part of their lives in the Bay and another part in the ocean. A perfect storm spill could destroy an entire year class of blue crabs. The economic impact from any spill could be significant, hurting commercial watermen livelihoods, recreational fishing, and tourism.

President Obama has said he wants this nation to be a leader in clean energy. That means a new way of thinking – renewable, sustainable energy sources that are readily available like wind and sun. Offshore wind energy, for example, is a more sustainable and environmentally sensitive practice than oil and gas drilling, and it creates the jobs of the future.

Drilling off Virginia’s shore is business as usual. Big Oil gets the bucks while citizens get the bill.

We need leadership today for a new green tomorrow. Our economy needs this leadership and so does the Chesapeake Bay.