NOAA recommends scaling back coastal drilling plans

10/12/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends dramatically scaling back a Bush-era plan to drill for oil and natural gas of the coasts of America. That’s according to a letter released today on the website of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

If accepted, the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015.pdf) issued in January would offer twelve large lease areas in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic and Pacific continental shelves.

But on September 21st, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere wrote to the director of the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, questioning the scale of the proposed drilling. The letter says, quote, “There are numerous sensitive hardbottom habitats along the west Florida shelf from Panama City to the Dry Tortugas.”

WMNF spoke today to Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER.

“For the most part, for environmental reasons: that they contain key fish resources, there are wildlife migratory corridors, as well as the lack of preparation for avoiding and responding to oil spills.”

The drilling policy will ultimately be determined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

PEER – Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Letter from Jane Lubchenko, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, to Department of Interior

MMS Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2010-2015.pdf)

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Don't give an inch!

President Bush and Bill Nelson opened up thousands of square miles for oil drilling and none of the "land" has been drilled. Now Obama is agreeing to open up more "land" for drilling. And the Florida Legislature study found that the oil available is small in terms of the world economy. It could never change the oil and gasoline prices; it could never reduce our dependency on foreign oil; it will not produce many jobs in Florida; and the owners of the drilling companies and refineries are not in Florida so corporate income taxes will not be collected here either. There is really nothing but risk for Florida. There is no upside at all. How can any Floridian actually see any benefit to drilling near Florida? When will the relentless pressure ever end? Even if they spill oil and ruin our seafood supply/industry and tourism they will still want to drill. We should not give them ONE MORE INCH!