Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama Unveils New Offshore Drilling Strategy

CONTACT: Kristina Johnson, 415.977.5619
Josh Dorner, 202.679.7570

Washington, D.C.- In a speech today, President Obama unveiled his new strategy on offshore drilling, which will keep some sensitive coastal areas open for drilling, including the Arctic's Chukchi and Beaufort seas which are of concern because they provide important habitat for polar bears, whales, and other marine life. Much of the South and Mid-Atlantic coasts will also remain open. The new plans will leave Alaska's Bristol Bay off-limits to drilling.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

"We're very disappointed to see important areas like the Arctic coast and the Mid and South Atlantic stay open to oil drilling.

"What we need is bold, decisive steps towards clean energy, like the new clean cars regulations announced this week--not more dirty, expensive offshore drilling.

"The oil industry already has access to drilling on millions of acres of America's public lands and water. We don't need to hand over our last protected pristine coastal areas just so oil companies can break more profit records.

"Drilling areas like the Arctic threatens marine life like whales and polar bears. Where there is offshore drilling, there is a constant danger of oil spills. One oil spill is all it takes to destroy a coastal tourism economy and the jobs that depend on it.

"Drilling our coasts will doing nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence. It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit.

"President Obama has taken important steps to combat global warming pollution and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Our nation's increasing investment in clean energy and efficiency measures make drilling in sensitive coastal areas even more unnecessary.

"There's no reason to drill our coasts. We can achieve real energy independence and economic vitality by investing in clean energy like wind and solar and efficiency. This kind of power creates good, lasting American jobs and positions our nation to become a global leader in the new clean energy economy."

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