It is impossible to turn on the news or open a newspaper (or web-page) without being bombarded by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And, the news just keeps getting worse. They now estimate it will take 90 days to shut down the oil spill. Marine species are threatened and livelihoods of fishermen are at stake because of the massive leak. However, the silver lining that could surround the incident is an increased interest in offshore wind farms instead of oil rigs. Obama seems to be flip-flopping back and forth between keeping his campaign promise not to increase offshore oil drilling and giving into the “drill, baby, drill” mentality. Merely one month ago, on March 31, 2010, Obama stated that he would open up 500,000 square miles of US coastal waters to oil and gas exploitation. It has been 20 years since this type of exploitation has been allowed. Obama claimed it was a concession necessary to convince the Republicans to support the climate change and energy legislation in Congress. Fortunately, in the wake of the recent oil spill, Obama appears to have, at least temporarily, flopped to the other side where he has put on hold all new exploratory drilling along the US continental shelf. So, in order to a) support Obama’s most recent decision and b) uphold my Earth Day resolution I will be writing a letter to my representatives regarding this issue. If you would like an easy way to do so as well, click here for a letter to which you can simply sign your name and click “Send.” This letter focuses on stopping Shell from drilling in the Arctic circle where an oil spill like the one in the Gulf could be catastrophic.
Which leads me to an obvious alternative: If you are going to set up machinery offshore to harness energy, why not make it renewable, clean, energy like wind? To me, it seems like a no-brainer, but then again I’m not being swayed by millions of dollars that gas companies kindly placed in my pocket. Stay tuned for more on wind power’s pros, and possible cons, in the next post.