Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Demand a permanent ban on oil and gas drilling in all coastal wetlands, to protect these delicate and economically important ecosystems from destruction
Coastal wetlands are one of our most important defenses against climate change, filtering runoff and serving as a buffer for storm damage. Yet the United States’ coastal wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate: nearly 80,000 acres a year between 2004-2009. Habitat damage caused by oil and gas development are a major cause of this loss, yet drilling is still permitted in many coastal wetland areas.
A recent report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration detailed the quickening of coastal wetlands’ decline. Residential development and oil and gas drilling make the areas more vulnerable to tropical storms that can do tremendous damage. The report states clearly that “Because they provide such crucial services it is in our national interest to responsibly use, conserve and protect these coastal resources.”
It’s true that coastal wetlands are commercially valuable. Shrimp, crab and lobster fisheries generated $1.6 billion in 2012, to say nothing of countless offshore drilling operations. But these habitats are also home to nearly half of all threatened and endangered species in the nation, and are a stop off for three quarters of all migratory birds. In the words of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, “We can’t sustain native wildlife for future generations without protecting and restoring the coastal wetlands that support them.”
The U.S. President has the power to stand up for this crucial habitat by restricting land use. Demand that President Barack Obama ban gas and oil development in all coastal wetlands.
Dear President Barack Obama,
In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, you took a stand to protect coastal wetlands by temporarily banning new drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. But these sensitive ecosystems are in jeopardy all along the nation’s coastlines, and just as in the Gulf oil and gas development are taking their toll.
Drilling operations cause erosion and pollution that make coastal wetlands more vulnerable to tropical storms like Hurricane Katrina. These habitats are home to half the threatened and endangered species in America, serve as buffers from storm damage, and filter runoff before it reaches the sea. Even the fisheries that are the lifeblood of many coastal communities are threatened by oil and gas development, as catastrophic spills become more and more common.
Americans depend on coastal wetlands for more than just cheap oil. Use your authority as President to save these ecosystems before it’s too late. Declare a permanent ban on oil and gas drilling in all coastal wetlands.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia