Recently I read an article in the LA Times entitled “Laguna Beach City Council opposes offshore oil drilling”. (“Laguna Again Protests Offshore Drilling,” Nov. 10.) Many states, not just California, are upset by the recent decision to open offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico.
This past April, President Trump signed an executive order creating the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy. Through this strategy, the president hopes to increase jobs and national security, and lower the price of oil. Although these economic benefits may seem great, offshore drilling can cause harm to marine wildlife and ecosystems. Did you know that approximately 1.3 millions gallons of petroleum oil is spilled into the ocean each year? Our oceans are becoming more and more contaminated as we increase the amount of offshore drilling.
We are in control of keeping the oceans clean, yet we continue to increase water contamination by allowing for exploration and development in areas that should remain preserved and protected.
Further, it has been reported that over decades, oil spills have injured or killed nearly 26,000 marine mammals and approximately 82,000 coastal birds. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil spill killed thousands of sea otters because when oil touches their fur, it prevents them from being able to insulate their bodies to stay warm.
If we continue down this path, the lack of biodiversity in the ocean will result in a major change of ecosystems as species become less and less abundant. Further, certain jobs and recreational activities such as fishing will be in jeopardy because there will be no more fish left in the ocean.
Oil and gas development does not just harm animals, but can also impact human health and the climate at large. Through drilling and extracting oil, toxic gases are released into the air and enhance climate change, which in turn impacts society. Science has shown the devastating affects of a changing climate, yet many Americans are promoting a strategy that will further harm the environment that we all live in.
It is time for us to take a stand and fight to preserve our natural resources, marine wildlife, and environment as a whole.
I support Laguna Beach in creating a resolution to reject Trump’s plan. Hopefully with the help of other cities and other states, our voices will be heard.
The fight is not over, it has only begun, and we can make a difference.
Emily McGreen, Gettysburg, Pa.