We the undersigned,
Opening our shores to drilling would only put our beaches and coastal waters at great environmental risk for a small, short-term supply of gas.
We would still face a long-term energy crisis while our environment and economy would confront new risks due to pollution and potential for catastrophic spills. We can do better.
If our cars and trucks got a few more miles per gallon, we'd could save more oil than exists off the entire coast of Florida. Instead of allowing oil companies to drill off our coast, you should be leading the fight in Washington for better gas mileage and clean energy.
Drilling rigs can spew air pollution and toxic mercury emissions that can poison marine wildlife. This can poison the fish that many people consume and would harm the fishing industry.
Increased offshore drilling raises the specter of another cataclysmic oil spill that could wreck the beautiful Virginia and Florida beaches where millions of Americans live or vacation.
Offshore oil drilling is even worse than that in ANWR since water provides a perfect medium in which oil can travel for hundreds of miles and damage vast areas of marine ecosystems. The threat of offshore oil drilling to the many endangered species of coastal Florida and these fragile and delicate environments is exponentially worse than the threat from ANWR drilling and deserves great concern. Coastal Florida is home to endangered and threatened species, and especially fragile and unique ecosystems, including coral reefs, the endangered Florida Manatee and other fragile and delicate marine life.
Each drilling platform could dump tons of heavy metals, muds, and toxic chemicals into our waters. This pollution would cause health and reproductive problems for fish and other marine life.
Seismic testing to locate oil creates decibel levels of 260 db, twice as loud as an ambulance, underwater. Exposure to these levels of noise underwater can cause disorientation, brain hemorrhaging, or even beaching for whales and dolphins. One hundred melon-head whales beached off of Madagascar close to where ExxonMobil was conducting seismic testing.
Offshore drilling creates an increased risk of oil spills close to our beaches and coastlines.Opening our coasts to destructive drilling would do little to lower prices at the gas pump, but it would threaten our beaches with pollution and potential oil spills. Tourism, property, and commercial and sport fishing wrecked in the wake of a huge oil slick could impair millions of jobs and weaken our coastal economies.
The need to address global warming means it is time to invest in renewable energy sources. Drilling for oil in dangerous locations will take years to reach the market and will only serve to increase global warming impacts when it does.
After Katrina in 2005, large amounts of oil were spilled from pipelines, tanks and other facilities related to offshore oil drilling. Reports were of overall spills of over 6 million gallons. This was one of the greatest oil spill events since the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million gallons. Florida lies right in the middle of hurricane alley and as such this amplifies the threat of oil spills vastly over other areas of the world, such as the north sea.
In the north sea, after oil drilling began, oil rigs had to be jacked up because the sea bed was sinking, Oil drilling opens up spaces deep underground which can cause the ground above to begin to sink. Some suspect the massive coastal erosion in Louisiana that could leave New Orleans an island, is being contributed to by this kind of subsidence. Erosion can decimate coastal ecosystems which are important hatcheries for fish, thus jeopardizing fishing industries.
Oil drilling would ruin the aesthetic beauty of coastlines and would cause a significant amount of activity that would inevitably lead to a degeneration of these ecosystems due to trash, litter and minor releases and spills, in addition to the threat of catastrophic spills. Dr. Stephen Leatherman, who studies beach environments and produces ratings on beach quality, has noted the damage that oil industry causes to coastal ecosystems. Texas and Louisiana are often called the trash can of the gulf to the inevitable refuse that falls off oil rigs and from oil operations in those areas, and the threat of oil spills.
Oil companies may try to white wash their operations and cover any evidence of the environmental degredation, impact and damage their operations inevitably cause. We cannot expect oil companies to admit that their operations will cause a real and serious decline in environmental quality that will reduce human quality of life and health. Oil companies tend to market their operations as being clean, no matter what the reality is. They will not admit it if there is real threats to the environments, since this would cause them to lose profits.
In Florida, oil drilling could pose a risk to the drinking water supply of millions since oil drilling would pass through the Florida aquifer.
Ultimately by drilling we have small short term gains for high long term costs of ruined and polluted environments that could poison future generations. Oil offshore Florida would only last a few years. It would take 10 years before it was actually available, but it would last for only a few years after that, but would add a threat to the environment that could last for hundreds of years. The damage could last a lot longer. The damage to the environment could cause serious economic damage for Florida. Tourism is far more important to Florida, since it is a resource we will have for millions of years, if we protect our environment, rather than a few years as with oil. We should respect, admire, and protect our natural environment so we can enjoy it and benefit from the tourism, rather than destroy it. There are better ways like biofuels, solar, wind and renewable energy that allows us to protect our environment. We should not endanger our environments for the short term profits of oil companies so we don't have to conserve energy, fund public transportation, invest in biofuels, build pedestrian and bike friendly cities, and other responsible and forward thinking ways of solving our problems. Oil drilling is not a good long or short term solution to the energy problem, due to global warming and the severe environmental threat from spills. It is an irresponsible act which would harm future generations. Lets develop responsible, renewable solutions to the energy problem with green technology rather than more dirty oil drilling that will decrease environmental quality thus human quality of life.There is immense pollution to water and air done by drilling. And even if the drilling starts we will see no significant decrease in fuel costs. Only the oil companies will be the beneficiaries. Offshire oil drilling is not a good solution to our energy crisis.
We simply do not need to sacrifice our beaches and coastal waters to meet America's energy needs. Cleaner, faster and less expensive energy solutions like energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy could start saving consumers and businesses money today and protect our beaches, marine waters and coastal economies.
We should not undo decades of protection for our sensitive ocean and coastal resources, and places thousands of miles of coastline at risk of catastrophic oil spills.
Offshore drilling is not a solution to America's energy problems, and will harm coastal economies more than it will help them.
Please oppose any legislation that would allow oil or gas drilling anywhere off the Florida coast.