Wind Power: The Real Offshore Solution
Each year our country’s energy demands increase and while we continue to rely on dirty fossil fuels, which perpetuates the dirty practice of offshore drilling, just miles away from many current and proposed offshore drilling sites exists a pathway to a clean energy future via offshore wind power.
Offshore oil drilling has resulted in major environmental disasters in recent years, most notably the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill that poured 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of 87 days. This was the single largest environmental disaster in U.S. history and devastated the region’s coastal ecosystem and the economy. Even though the three-year anniversary of this disaster recently passed, Congress has still done little to curtail irresponsible practices that pollute our oceans and punish those responsible when spills do occur. Instead of staying tethered to the dirty energy sources of the past, we must begin to harness the untapped power of clean sources such as wind which is clean, limitless and guaranteed not to spill.
On the Atlantic Coast alone, offshore wind has the potential to produce almost 30 percent more electricity than offshore oil and gas resources combined. Though this clean and efficient solution already exists, the federal government is currently considering a proposal to use seismic air guns to search for oil and gas along the East Coast. The region currently being considered for oil and gas exploration, is twice the size of California and spans from Delaware to Florida. Not only would loud blasts of compressed air from seismic air guns deafen whales and dolphins with their continuous 24 hour per day exploration, the activity would bring economic and environmental harm. Based on Oceana’s recently released report, 730,000 fishing and marine tourism jobs would be placed at risk by the seismic air gun blasts.
In contrast, offshore wind has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of long-term, good-paying domestic jobs now, when they’re needed most. For example, the proposed Massachusetts project, Cape Wind, would create an estimated 1,000 direct jobs, while allowing surrounding businesses to hire around 200 additional employees due to reduced electricity prices. Offshore wind energy efficiently and cleanly generates electricity for densely populated cities, relieving stress on the power grid and producing lasting, sustainable stability in electricity prices.
Simply put, The United States needs to find a better way to satisfy our energy demands. Luckily, the ability to do so is within our reach. We need to put a stop to the expansion of offshore drilling and focus on alternative energy sources like offshore wind that can combat global climate change, create good-paying American jobs, and protect marine life. It is time to break our addiction to offshore drilling and move forward into our clean energy future.
Tell the government to reject seismic airgun testing and the expansion of offshore drilling by signing Oceana’s White House petition authored by Ted Danson.
Nancy Sopko is an ocean advocate at Oceana, the largest international organization working solely to protect the world’s oceans. To learn more about Oceana’s work on clean energy, please visit www.oceana.org/climate-energy.
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