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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 1, 2010

Contact: Kristina Johnson

(415) 977-5619

 

Obama to Maintain Drilling Ban in Atlantic and Eastern Gulf Coasts

Washington, D.C. – The Obama administration today announced that it will not allow drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico or along the Atlantic coast as part of its new five-year drilling plan. In March, just prior to the BP oil disaster, the administration announced it would open parts of the Eastern Gulf and Atlantic Coast to drilling. Today’s announcement reverses that decision. The Interior Department also announced today that it would require further environmental review before Shell Oil can proceed with plans to drill in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea, home to bowhead whales and other marine life. 

 

Statement of Sierra Club Land Protection Director Athan Manuel

The BP oil disaster showed us beyond a doubt how dirty, deadly, and dangerous offshore drilling is. Today’s decisions signal that the administration is heeding the lessons from the BP disaster.  

Communities along the Gulf Coast are still reeling from the BP oil disaster. In addition to massive job losses in the fishing, seafood, and tourism industries and lingering damage to coastlines and marine life, we are now seeing workers and families who have built their lives on these industries suffering psychological trauma from the catastrophe.  Oil spill clean up workers and responders are also suffering from illnesses related to the disaster.

We need to make sure we never see another oil spill like the BP disaster. Keeping the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast out of the new five-year drilling plan is a significant step in the right direction. But an oil spill like the BP disaster could happen anywhere—in Alaska, or in other parts of the Central and Western Gulf Coast where drilling is allowed.

Last week, the administration announced plans to facilitate responsible offshore wind development. By encouraging clean energy like wind instead of more offshore drilling, the administration will help protect coastal jobs and communities.

We have a choice. We can continue to destroy coastal communities in the pursuit of dirty, outdated energy like oil. Or we can aggressively invest in clean energy like wind that will create good jobs here at home and keep America competitive in the global clean energy economy.

Today’s announcement shows that the administration is serious about investing in clean energy instead of more dangerous oil drilling. 



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