One thing about creating a small nationally based conservation group is the need to focus your energies on multiple subjects while not ignoring those that you have made a priority. For our group that has meant getting the Wolf Action Coalition off the ground, rescuing prairie dogs in Colorado, meeting with elected officials to talk about protecting Ah-She-Sle-Pah wilderness in New Mexico and now putting tremendous energy into creating a documentary on the Atlantic coast and the threat posed by offshore oil and gas development.
All these issues matter and what they share is the passion our organization brings to them. We work every day to make sure that progress occurs and that we can continue to make a difference, not just in these areas, but in finding new ways that we can make a mark in protecting wildlife, water and land.
That is what has led us to undertake a documentary film that tells the story of life on the Atlantic coast, and the impact offshore development could have on a priceless way of life. We want to illustrate the dramatic impact oil and gas exploration could have on the whales, dolphins and millions of sea creatures that depend on humans doing what is right to provide clean water and to stop climate change and its impact on our oceans.
As mentioned before I spent many years in North Carolina and have come to love the southern ocean, for the freedom it represented to me as a young man. From Florida to North Carolina, I was fortunate enough to swim those waters and search their beaches for shells and sharks teeth. Before I ventured west, standing on the shore was the closest sense I had to feeling one with the environment, the sound of the surf and heat of the sun, transformed one’s mind by the boundless scale that comes with a coastline of sand and water.
The oil and gas industry has long had its sights on Atlantic waters, with the first drilling having occurred in 1947; 51 exploratory wells later, we still have no oil. That is the good news; the bad news is, Big Oil wants more. They might already be drilling were it not for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. Because of that spill, drilling off the Atlantic was postponed until 2017.
In the US, state waters extend 3.45 miles from the beach, while federal extend 200 miles. The oil industry is looking to drill 50 miles from shore, near the Gulf Stream that would take a spill to Greenland, Europe and beyond.
In 2012, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy management (BOEM) estimated undiscovered recoverable oil in federal Atlantic waters to be close to 3.30 billion barrels and 31.28 trillion cubic feet of gas. Of course these are estimates and not fact, and as we have seen in the Arctic, these figures can vary wildly.
The reality is we must simply leave any of this oil and gas in the ground. It’s not just so the beaches remain free of petroleum, it is because drilling for oil and gas is what is causing Global Climate Change. The use of fossil fuels causes ocean acidification, killing all that defines life as we know it.
Armed with such information, the answer is simple, do not drill. However, with a head in the sand approach and so many politicians willing to turn their cheek while filling their pockets, drilling seems to becoming fast-tracked.
Right now the biggest projections seem to lie off the North Carolina coast, but Virginia can also be a factor. While Florida is not currently open to drilling, they will allow seismic testing, which in addition to profoundly impacting the marine environment, is the first step in opening Florida’s waters to drilling.
Naturally, Big Oil will then look to the north and the drilling will continue: We must stop drilling in its tracks. Some new voices have appeared recently, speaking out against offshore drilling, including Congressman Mark Stanford (Charleston, SC, whose rise to fame involved his disappearance from the Appalachian trail) and perhaps even South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, both Republicans.
Yet in the other states it seems to be a chorus of ‘drill baby drill.’ North Carolina is in the midst of perhaps the greatest rollback of environmental regulations and safeguards in our country thanks to Republican lawmakers.
For two weeks in June, Bold Visions Conservation will be filming interviews with people all along the Atlantic Coast and telling you their stories.
Our country has fought far too many wars, has endured so much devastation at the hands of the oil and gas industry. The east coast has not seen firsthand the impacts of big oil outside of Pennsylvania. Many people there simply do not understand what is coming.
Owners of the hotels, shops and restaurants on the coast need to join the fight too: what would happen to your business, your way of life, when the first oil slick spews across your shoreline?
I was taught from childhood to never look back with regret.
Our goal is to give Atlantic coast conservation groups a tool and its residents an understanding of what could be lost and gained by saying ‘NO’ to drilling off the coast, moving our country away from fossil fuels and solidly on the path to renewable energy.
With your help, we will produce a film that coastal conservation groups can use to help create the noise and voices that will defeat Big Oil once and for all!
Please take a moment and consider a donation to making this film a reality! We plan to distribute this film by September 1! If you leave on the east coast, or have friends there, please forward this email!
Help us stop big oil, before it’s too late.
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Bold Visions Conservation