Ironically, as McDonnell makes his statement about offshore oil drilling, the wind is howling. The reason I say “ironically” is that it would be far, far better to focus our energies – pun intended – on developing offshore wind than on wasting time and money with the wild goose chase of “drilling our way to energy independence.” Perhaps not ironic, but appropriate, about the blowing wind is how much hot air is being spewed around today about offshore oil drilling by people who don’t know the first thing about U.S. oil reserves, world oil markets, offshore potential, or the relative cost of other alternatives like energy efficiency and clean renewables. If they did, perhaps they’d feel differently about today’s news, but god forbid they should make the effort to actually research this and think it through carefully. But no…
Anyway, let me just leave you with a few statements from environmental groups that express many of my thoughts as well.
*JR Tolbert of Environment Virginia says, “There is no need to threaten our beaches, wildlife and tourism with oil spills and pollution when we have much better solutions — putting cleaner cars on the road today that will dramatically cut oil consumption; shifting to plug-in cars powered by the wind and the sun that use little to no oil and investing more in public transportation.” Tolbert adds, “At a time when we need to tackle both our dependence on oil and the threat of global warming pollution, this proposal takes us backward. More offshore drilling means more oil consumption and more global warming pollution.”
*Glen Besa of the Virginia Sierra Club says, “There are not only the risks of spills both chronic and catastrophic but also the industrialization of our coastal communities that would either debilitate or destroy Virginia’s coastal economy.” Besa adds, “For just the Mid-Atlantic area alone, the annual value of these sustainable activities is almost 4 times that of oil and gas extraction. That’s $13.55 billion from industries completely dependent on clean beaches and healthy ocean waters compared to $3.7 billion from dwindling nonrenewable risky source that in Virginia’s case represents a mere 6.5 days of supply before it’s exhausted.”
*Eileen Levandoski of the Virginia Sierra Club says, “Encroachment in the Virginia CAPES operating area, where the Navy has maintained its opposition to Virginia drilling, would provide compelling reason for Navy to move its forces to states like Florida that protect offshore training ranges from drilling. The loss of Oceana jets means a net loss of 11,000 jobs, $773 million in annual payroll, and $452 million in annual local contracting. This loss of jobs dwarfs even the most speculative of job creation estimates from Virginia drilling.”