Target: Patrick Leahy, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate
Goal: Protect marine life and coastal economies by stopping expanded offshore oil drilling
America’s coastal waters support environmental diversity and entire local economies. These ecosystems not only generate steady tourism and millions of marine-related jobs; they are home to a wide variety of threatened species. Offshore drilling threatens workers’ livelihoods as well as the oceans themselves. Despite the vital role of coastal economies, the U.S. Senate has proposed a bill to encourage expansion of offshore drilling operations.
Senate Bill 1273, also known as “The Fair Act,” would reward participating states with drilling-related royalties. This means coastal states such as Florida, California and North Carolina would receive a percentage of the revenue from federal drilling leases if the bill is passed. The federal government previously prohibited revenue sharing; it was this prohibition which kept many coastal states from moving forward with drilling in the first place. Sadly, the risk of potential oil spills and animal die-offs may not be enough to dissuade states from considering this extremely lucrative proposal.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, oil royalties are the “second-largest single source of revenue, exceeded only by federal income tax.” For the many states still in dire financial straits, this new incentive would likely mean more extensive, prolonged drilling activity. States with substantial budget deficits–like North Carolina–may see no other option for fixing their financial problems.
Conservation group Oceana reports that offshore drilling pollutes the seas via spills, pipeline leaks and blowouts. Even the process of oil exploration requires invasive techniques which can harm marine life and hinder fisherman. If the Senate passes this bill the damage to America’s coastal ecology and industries will no doubt be catastrophic and widespread. Urge the Senate to vote against this bill and protect the nation’s precious beaches, marine life and coastal economies.
Dear Senator Leahy,
America’s coasts are an invaluable part of the nation’s economy and environment. Offshore drilling may generate much-needed revenue, but it does so at a tremendous cost to the ecosystems themselves and the millions of jobs in fishing, tourism and other marine industries. If you support passage of Senate Bill 1273, known as“The Fair Act,” you are helping endanger sea life and already-fragile coastal economies.
Drilling poses serious health risks, even when things go as planned. According to conservation group Oceana, countless toxic pollutants are produced during the drilling process. Drilling muds used to lubricate drill bits emit toxic chemicals that can kill marine life, and drilling activity has been linked to higher mercury levels in fish. Gas flaring also produces black carbon, which significantly contributes to climate change. Though lucrative, drilling is an extremely destructive practice. It is at least as costly as it is profitable.
Offshore drilling represents the sanctioned destruction of nature and is a shortsighted response to today’s financial dilemmas. The long-term environmental effects will only create situations that require more money to repair. Because of these serious repercussions I urge you to vote against Senate Bill 1273 and to encourage your colleagues in the Senate to do the same. Please, keep the environment and America’s hard-working people in mind when you make your final decision.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin E. Stumberg via Wikimedia Commons