Obama Reverses Drilling Plans

December 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

On March 31st 2009 President Obama addressed the country announcing his administration’s plan to increase America’s dependence on archaic, dirty and unsafe oil. The administration announced they would open offshore oil and gas exploration along the Atlantic coast line and eastern gulf.

The day of the announcement, the youth climate movement, including hundreds of young people in the South, was disappointed in the Administration’s step backwards.  Instead of moving towards a clean energy economy and addressing the climate crisis as promised on the campaign trail, the Obama administration was caving to dirty energy corporate interests, and climate science denier’s lies.

The Obama Administration was failing to listen to young people — the very voting block that carried him to victory in his historical presidential election.

Nineteen days later the worst environmental disaster in US history hit the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy with devastating and irreversible impacts.  The BP offshore oil disaster hit just as the Obama Administration felt comfortable in talking about the “safety” of offshore oilrigs.

The youth climate movement could have easily said “I told you so,” instead we fought back. We encouraged an immediate ban on new offshore oil drilling (we were given a mere six months), we demanded that Congress investigate BP and hold the company accountable for their disaster. We donated pounds of hair helping to construct miles of hair boom, and we met with local, state, and national decision makers calling on them for climate and clean energy action NOW! Even after six months we continued to address the issue by holding 10/20 days of action, like this one Tyler Offerman and students at FGCU held.

Eight months after making his original announcement to open our coast to risky offshore oil drilling President Obama’s Administration reversed their decision, citing the BP oil disaster as the reason to be more cautious and aware of our decisions. The administration is now calling for a seven year ban.

Some climate activist are seeing this as a victory and are celebrating, calling on the grassroots community to thank the Administration for their recent announcement.  Although this is a good FIRST step, and I am thankful, I still feel this is the Obama’s Administration attempt to keep the youth climate movement pleased, a decision that will hold us over until the next election, a decision that allows President Obama to stand up and say “I banned offshore oil drilling for 7 years – vote for me in 2012”.

As an active member in the youth climate movement, I am fed up and although this might be a “win” for some, for me – this is not enough. With the UN negotiations around the global climate crisis in Cancun happening over the next two weeks, the United States does not have time to “lead” with small incremental steps such as a seven year ban. If we want to emerge on top, leading the new clean energy global economy and the global fight against the climate crisis, we need large monumental steps such as a permanent ban on new offshore oil drilling for our entire coast. We need the leadership President Obama promised on his campaign trail!

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Entry filed under: southern energy network.

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