SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

The Gulf Oil Disaster – Four Years & Counting


4745720608_090a7422fa.jpgOn April 20, 2010, we watched and listened as news developed surrounding the explosion and subsequent sinking of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig. The explosion resulted in millions of barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico – estimates ranged from BP’s conservative initial 1,000 barrels per day to more than 100,000 barrels per day. The current consensus is that a total of around 4.9 million barrels of oil made it into the Gulf waters. The devastating effects on wildlife and local economies are still being discovered today. We may not know the full impacts of the spill for generations to come.

SACE’s statement on April 23, 2010 called for “real solutions that move us away from dangerous and destructive energy sources and towards clean, renewable energy options.” We called on President Obama to reverse his March 31, 2010 proposal to open new offshore areas for oil and gas development. As the severity of this tragedy was realized, the Obama Administration responded by issuing an extended moratorium on deepwater offshore oil drilling. However, in what seemed to be an ill-advised decision to appease political pressure, the President lifted the moratorium just months later in mid-October, 2010.

In response to claims that we must continue to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy initiated the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge in May 2010 to find the best plan to demonstrate how Americans can offset the 20 percent of oil we pump from the Gulf of Mexico and import from the Persian Gulf. In July 2010, Oceana’s Vision 2020 was announced as the $10,000 winner. Under Oceana’s plan, “74 percent of oil consumption would ultimately be curtailed, consumers would save money, new jobs would be created and the worst effects of climate change and ocean acidification could be averted.”

spillfromspace.jpgIn October 2010, SACE released a video entitled Southern Solutions to Oil Drilling which highlights myriad ways that clean energy sources like biofuels, energy efficiency, and hybrid and electric vehicles can offset our insatiable demand for crude oil. Unfortunately, two years later, very little has been done to address the Gulf disaster or to avoid another similar one. In fact, decision makers in Washington have actually pushed to expedite offshore drilling off the shores of Virginia and weaken regulations that apply to oil companies under the illusion of energy independence.

For more information on the current situation in the Gulf and the developments over the past year, look to our latest offshore drilling blog updates and these informative sources: