In response to the Department of Interior’s announcement to exclude the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from the 2012-2017 offshore oil and natural gas leasing program, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) released the following statement from Executive Director, Dr. Stephen A. Smith:
“Offshore oil drilling remains a high-risk energy choice, one that was a dangerous, unnecessary and ecologically risky undertaking even prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April. We applaud Secretary of Interior Salazar and President Obama for reversing their March decision that would have opened previously protected coastal areas in the offshore oil-leasing program.
“However, more must be done to ensure that our Southeastern waters are off-limits to future oil and gas drilling. We urge President Obama to follow in the footsteps of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and reinstate the moratorium which prohibits offshore oil drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to protect our coastal economies and ecosystems from potential future disastrous oil spills. Many jobs along our coasts – especially tourism and fishing – rely on a clean environment and the Gulf’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry was directly impacted by the oil disaster this summer.
“Opening the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts to drilling will not result in energy independence. An analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 confirms this and indicates it would likely result in only a three-cent-per gallon savings in gas prices in 2030. The United States gets only about 10% of its oil from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, contrary to what many people think.”
“We urge President Obama and the Interior Department to prioritize offshore wind energy projects through initiatives such as the “Smart from the Start” program to ensure our nation remains focused on true energy independence in the form of renewable energy sources such as offshore wind energy.” # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.