Even in the wake of the recent Gulf oil spill -- the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history -- the federal government is contemplating opening vast new areas in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil exploration.
Just weeks before the BP disaster, President Obama justified offshore drilling expansion by saying that, "oil rigs today generally don't cause spills." Now, in light of the Gulf catastrophe, it's painfully obvious that new drilling is too risky and jeopardizes the fate of the marine environments, our coasts and the communities that depend on them.
Right now, the government is accepting public feedback as it prepares an environmental review of its offshore oil and gas program for 2012-2017. That means YOU have an opportunity to tell the Obama administration that what's needed right now is a permanent moratorium on new offshore drilling.
I am writing to urge the federal government to stop risky offshore oil drilling that threatens our marine ecosystem, coasts and the communities that depend on healthy oceans. The Gulf oil spill is the worst environmental disaster in American history. In light of the oil spill, the federal government should place a permanent moratorium on new offshore oil and gas drilling. Plans to open areas of the Arctic, Atlantic and eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas leasing must be halted. Instead, these areas and others need lasting protection from oil exploration and development.
[Your personal comments will be inserted here.]
In its environmental impact statement on offshore oil and gas activities, the government must fully analyze the potential impacts of oil spills, including massive blowouts such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico. This analysis must consider the impacts on threatened and endangered species, valuable marine and coastal habitat, fisheries and the human environment. Additionally, the impacts of oil-spill responses such as the use of dispersants must be fully considered.
After a full and meaningful analysis of the environmental impacts of risky offshore drilling, and drawing from the experience in the Gulf of Mexico, the government must take measures to prevent the adverse impacts to the environment by halting new offshore drilling.
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