This year, we had 37 events right here in the Southeast, from North Carolina down to Florida and over to Louisiana. Residents of these 37 communities stood up for clean water and clean air, for healthy beaches, for ocean wildlife, and for the awesome quality of life we enjoy here in the Southeast.
Offshore drilling is risky and dangerous. We saw its terrible impacts in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 (and the tragedy is still unfolding to this day); in the Santa Barbara blowout in the 1960s and in untold and usually unreported catastrophes that occur around the world on an annual basis.
In the Southeast, our economy relies on clean, healthy beaches and a thriving coast. Hundreds of thousands of Southeasterners work in the coastal tourism and fishing industries, which generate billions of dollars per year. Jeopardizing these critical, established industries for high-risk offshore drilling would be a grave mistake and a disservice to our communities.
The good news is that we can create energy jobs right here without the threat to our mainstay industries. Solar power, offshore wind, biopower, and energy efficiency can provide for much of our energy needs while creating little to no pollution and supporting a vibrant economy. Alternative transportation fuels, such as biofuels, and electric vehicles reduce our need for more oil, and alternative transportation such as bicycling or public transit not only reduce oil consumption, but also alleviate traffic, and help us stay healthier.
The message we sent on May 18 is that tapping clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency will ensure a thriving, vibrant coastal economy now and in the future.