Victory along the coast – new offshore oil drilling halted

by Dan Howells

December 3, 2010

well cap near BP leak in the Gulf

In a remarkable reversal just days after Thanksgiving and months of bad news about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration showed maybe it did learn something. On Wednesday, December 1, the Administration announced it was reversing its decision to allow for more offshore drilling in the Gulf and along the East coast and west coast of Florida at least through 2017.

This reverses the Obama drilling giveaway of this past March, just a few weeks before the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. This is really good news for all of us and big congratulations to all of you who phoned, emailed, or protested about the Gulf oil disaster.

While much work remains to stop drilling in other places like Alaska’s coast and the Arctic Ocean, and even tougher work to change the way the United States produces and uses energy, it is important to take a moment to recognize how important this decision is. Instead of deepening our reliance on fossil fuels that are causing disasters of every proportion the Administration is looking to streamline siting off-shore wind farms. Instead of giving in to the wishes of Big Oil, they are standing up to the corporations. Steps in the right direction.

I briefly met Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar when he invited many of us to a meeting at his office to discuss the oil spill and the government’s response. He went around the room introducing himself and shaking everyone’s hand before the meeting started. This took place last May, shortly after seven Greenpeaceactivists were arrested in Louisiana protesting drilling and after about 30,000 of you contacted his office pushing to stop offshore drilling.

I introduced myself as being from Greenpeace as I shook his hand and his grip got a little tighter. He seemed to have felt the pressure and was giving me a little back. Maybe next time we meet I’ll shake his hand, say thanks, and ask him about stopping those drilling projects in Arctic.

Congratulations to all of you who have made your voice heard. This is a victory along the way to greater things.

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