Ten Reasons NOT to Drill Offshore

      Greenpeace sent out the following Dave Letterman-like list (but without the humor) several weeks ago

10. Offshore oil drilling won’t impact gas prices today, and it won’t have a significant impact on gas prices in the future.

9. This is nothing more than a money grab by the oil companies – who are already making record-breaking profits.

8. We burn 25% of the world’s oil here in the U.S., but we have only 3% of the world’s oil reserves. So even if all offshore oil magically came to market today, the vast majority of our oil would continue to be imported, and we wouldn’t see price relief at the pump.

7. The current moratorium was put in place decades ago to protect us from the danger of oil spills along our coastlines and beaches.

6. Burning fossil fuels like oil causes global warming, which causes stronger hurricanes, which will threaten the very offshore drilling rigs being proposed, which will contribute to even more global warming.

5. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy within the next 10 years. The billions of dollars that would be spent on offshore oil drilling just postpones the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

4. Oil exploration requires massive seismic testing – which threatens whales and dolphins.

3. Oil prices are set on the global oil market, so American oil is no cheaper than Saudi oil. We won’t get a discount for oil drilled in the U.S.

2. We can’t solve the world’s energy problems with the same drilling that created them. Nor can we continue to keep “borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet”. – Al Gore on wired

1. Renewable energy is available now, so it’s time to walk away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.

See this more hopeful PEC section.


Interest in expanding offshore drilling into previously protected areas peaked in 2008. While moratoria prevented oil drilling on most U.S. coasts for more than 25 years, the bans were lifted by President Bush and Congress in 2008.

In the 11th hour of President Bush’s administration, he proposed a new, five-year drilling plan which would allow drilling in the areas that were previously protected.

Thankfully, when President Obama took office, his Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, put a hold on the plan to allow appropriate time for comments from all sides of the drilling debate.

Currently, Congress is also considering legislation that would require leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico despite a 2006 agreement that was made to protect the eastern gulf until 2022. There is also great concern that Congress may include new offshore drilling in pending climate legislation.

Offshore drilling is not the answer

Offshore drilling harms the oceans. Almost one million gallons of oil enter the oceans of North America every year through extraction activities alone. Oil is particularly damaging to marine mammals, seabirds, and turtles, which can ingest and become coated in oil.

The emissions from the continued use of oil will contribute to climate change. Coral death from ocean acidification and coral bleaching, more frequent and stronger storms, and increased sea level rise are all severe threats to low-lying coastline and marine resources.

The threat to our oceans and marine life is not theoretical; it happens and it happens often. A recent Shell pipeline spill in the Gulf of Mexico covered 80 square miles of Gulf waters with oil sheen. It was one of two spills in waters off Florida’s coastline and seven spills in U.S. waters this year. A new rig, installed in 2007, has leaked more than a million gallons of oil into the Timor Sea off Australia, proving that even Big Oil’s new, “safe” technology can create disasters.