In order to understand how the political landscape of offshore oil drilling shifted, we need to look no further than the year 2008 when "Drill baby, drill" hit headlines, and when both President Bush and Congress allowed moratoriums on offshore drilling to lapse. John Decock recently posted a blog to Huffington Post that keenly articulates how just one summer, and a silly slogan, altered an entire political landscape.
Unfortunately, most Americans do not realize the threat of offshore drilling. When Bush lifted the ban on offshore drilling, his administration didn't waste any time creating a plan that would lease vast amounts of our coastlines to new drilling. While the Obama administration is still considering how they will "incorporate offshore energy," environmentalists and the general public need to be concerned and aware.
The fact that President Obama asked us to make "tough decisions about offshore oil and gas" in his State of the Union Address should give us great pause. For those of us living in California, we need to be even more concerned considering Assemblymember Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) recently introduced legislation that calls for opening all California waters to drilling.
In order to increase awareness about the threat of offshore oil drilling (with the ultimate goal of defeating the DeVore bill and restoring federal moratoriums) the Surfrider Foundation and Environment California are holding community forums around the State. For decades our coastlines were protected from drilling. Now, it's incumbent upon environmentalists and local communities alike to begin the drumbeat and start a movement of concerned citizens who will speak up against new offshore oil drilling.
At the forums, local communities will learn what steps can be taken to apply political pressure in the right places to ensure our coastlines are kept safe. It's impossible to forget the images of the large spill that took place in Santa Barbara in 1969 and the recent spill in Australia. A major goal of the forum is to inspire local communities to defend their coastline and become better prepared to fight this environmental and political battle.
Our oceans and beaches are vital recreational, economic, and ecological treasures that will be polluted by an increase in offshore oil drilling. Instead of advocating for transient and environmentally harmful ways to meet America's oil needs we need to develop a sustainable "energy portfolio" that includes renewable sources and energy conservation.
Please join us at the forum in Los Angeles on March 17. Climate change and other environmental problems associated with burning fossil fuels are not waiting for us to rebuild our "energy portfolio." We need concerned citizens to help shift the paradigm of relying on fossil fuels. Help us keep potential catastrophic oil spills and an industrialized coastline at bay.
Community Forum Information for LA:
March 17, 2010 7-8pm
Santa Monica Library--Fairview Branch:
2101 Ocean Park Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
We will hold forums in Northern California on the following dates: April 19 (Monterey,) April 20 (Santa Cruz) and April 21 (San Francisco). Venues TBD.