Trump Administration Plans to Open the US Coasts to Oil Drilling (And What You Can Do About It)

Author’s note: At Brighten Solar Co, we try to focus on solutions rather than problems, and to promote sound economics and rationality before engaging in politics. However, sometimes an issue is so dear to our hearts that we must speak up. As a solar company, we have a vested interest in transitioning away from fossil fuels, so we boast an obvious bias for renewable energy. We are committed to making a difference in how we produce energy, not just as a company trying to turn a profit, but for a cleaner future for our planet.   –LC

 

Stepping Back in Time

The Trump administration rang in the new year with another step into the time machine. The Department of the Interior released a proposal to open up over 90% of the United States coastline to oil and gas leasing, including the entire California coast. If this proposed plan passes, nearly 2 billion acres of seabed will be vulnerable to drilling. The last time the Santa Barbara Channel was opened up to new leasing was under the Reagan administration in 1984, and with the infrastructure already in place, our Central Coast will be particularly vulnerable.

This plan is not only environmentally reckless, but also economically risky. Oil is selling at just enough to make this plan potentially profitable, but as renewable technologies continue to improve and gain popularity, there is no guarantee that drilling into our coastal seabeds will pay off. There is also the insidious economic costs of human health hazards, disruptions to coastal tourism and recreation, loss of biodiversity, associated transport and infrastructure costs, and of course, the potential for leaks and spills.

If history has taught us anything, we know not to question if a spill will occur, but rather to ask when:

 

 

Let’s Move Forward, Not Backward

This proposal comes at a critical turning point in human history: governments and corporations alike are investing in renewable energy and setting bold standards to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels. The proposal has been called “reckless” and “short-sighted” by California Governor Jerry Brown, who has committed to fighting the plan with the other West Coast states.

“They’ve chosen to forget the utter devastation of past offshore oil spills to wildlife and to the fishing, recreation and tourism industries in our states,” the governors said. “They’ve chosen to ignore the science that tells us our climate is changing and we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

 

What You Can Do

The Interior Department’s proposal is open to public comment until Friday, March 9. Click here and then click “Comment Now” to submit your comment. Share your story about what your coastal community means to you: share your ocean-related interests and hobbies, environmental concerns for yourself and your family, and any facts and figures. There is an attachment section as well.

Missed the Deadline?

You can also submit comments to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke here and reach out directly to the Department of the Interior here.

Thank you for your help to protect our coasts!