May 27 2015
San Clemente, CA – Thursday, May 28, 2015 – In light of last week’s oil spill in Santa Barbara, the Surfrider Foundation, (Surfrider.org), a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's ocean, waves and beaches, is calling for the U.S. Government to restore a federal moratorium on new offshore drilling sites, including canceling plans for new oil and gas development in the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. Additionally, Surfrider is imploring citizens across the country to get involved and urge elected officials to pass better legislation to ensure long-term protection of our natural resources.
“The recent oil spill in Santa Barbara is a stark reminder that our ocean is precious and vulnerable, yet government officials and oil companies continue the dirty business of oil drilling. It is time to take a stand and defend the world’s ocean,” said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO Surfrider Foundation. “As we kick-off World Oceans Day on June 1, we are urging all citizens to take action both personally and collectively to help protect the precious waters that give us life and enjoyment.”
To date, the ruptured pipeline outside of Santa Barbara has dumped as much as 101 thousand gallons of oil, with 21 thousand gallons reaching the California shoreline. The true ecological damage will not be realized for years, but the spill has killed marine wildlife, closed local beaches and left an oil slick over nine miles wide near the shore and a seven square mile slick approximately 11 miles offshore. This spill is only one example of the damage U.S. drilling operations cause – small, unseen pipeline spills happen daily, sending roughly 880 thousand gallons of oil into the ocean each year.
Federal Moratorium on Offshore Drilling
For decades our coasts were protected from new offshore oil drilling. However, in 2008, President Bush and Congress lifted federal moratoria on new offshore drilling making our nation's coastlines vulnerable to the expansion of oil and gas development.
In April 2010, the risks of offshore drilling were exposed to the world when the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded and released approximately 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Beaches and coastal wetlands from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle were impacted – killing birds, fish, marine mammals and devastating the recreation and fishing-based economies of the Gulf States.
Yet again, the ocean is a target. The Draft 5 Year Offshore Drilling Plan released by the Obama Administration for 2017 - 2022 includes scheduled lease sales in the Mid-and South Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Surfrider believes the Obama Administration and Congress need to reestablish the Federal Moratorium on new offshore drilling rather than risking our ocean and all it provides to us from opening offshore oil drilling every 5 years.
Support World Ocean’s Month
As defenders of the ocean, Surfrider needs help! Here’s what you can do:
- Sign Something: Sign the petition to reject seismic testing and drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Make a call: Call your state representative and say, "I'm calling to ask that you oppose all new offshore oil and gas development and exploration."
- Support Alternatives: Drive slowly. If you drive a vehicle getting low MPG, lower speeds can significantly save fuel.
- Use Public Transit: Explore mass transit. If that’s not an option, combine errands – making several trips can use a lot of gas.
- Say No to Plastic: Stop using plastic bags and single-use plastics. Around 100 billion petroleum-based plastic checkout bags are used each year in the United States, requiring an estimated 12 million barrels of oil each year. 60-80 percent of pollution in our ocean comes from plastic!
- Protect Your Waterways: Create an ocean friendly garden (helps conserves water and lessen polluted runoff), pick up trash at your beach and get involved with your community, whether that's through a local Surfrider chapter or another organization that protects coastal resources.
“We cannot drill our way out of our oil dependence problem. Drilling is simply not the answer – we must find alternatives. It’s not hard to do our part in conserving resources – work to minimize your fossil fuel consumption, support strong regulations and limits on new oil drilling and eliminate daily use of plastic bags and other single-use plastic. While small, if adopted as a whole, these changes can have monumental impact,” continued Nelsen.
About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, visit surfrider.org.