Today, Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced the American Power Act, legislation aimed at addressing climate change and promoting cleaner energy.
Unfortunately, it has a big problem: The bill promotes dangerous offshore drilling by providing states with a financial incentive to green-light drilling off our coasts… even in the wake of the massive Gulf offshore oil catastrophe. Juliet Eilperin reports for The Washington Post:
It aims to encourage offshore oil drilling [Emphasis added – Ed.] but also imposes significant checks on the activity, by giving states the right to veto offshore oil drilling in a neighboring state and opt out of drilling that would occur in waters within 75 miles of their own shores. It requires an Interior Department study to determine which states could be economically and environmentally affected by a spill, and those states would be able to block drilling by passing a law. The states that go ahead with drilling will retain 37 percent of the federal royalties raised as a result.[Emphasis Added – Ed.]
It’s not too late for a clean energy and climate bill. Please urge your senators to pass comprehensive legislation to address climate change and promote a cleaner energy future… without incentives for more dirty offshore drilling.
Earlier today, Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Rodger Schlickeisen had this to say about the bill:
“Global climate change is one of the biggest threats to our wildlife and natural resources. We’re pleased that Senators Kerry and Lieberman are working hard to pass climate legislation that addresses not only the causes of climate change but also the impacts already being seen on the ground. And anyone watching the expanding oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico can see that we need to move away from dirty fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
“Unfortunately, we can’t go backwards to move forwards. Legislation that promotes offshore drilling is not the answer to achieving American energy security and reducing global warming pollution. We are disappointed that the bill includes provisions that promote offshore oil drilling and therefore cannot support the bill in its current state. However, we will seek to work with the bill’s sponsors and other Senators to address our concerns so that the comprehensive climate change legislation our nation urgently needs can move forward.”
Unless we address climate change and reduce fossil fuel emissions, sea levels will continue to rise, submerging vital nesting grounds for imperiled turtles. Sea ice in the Arctic will continue to disappear, causing more polar bears to starve and drown.
And if Big Oil is successful in its drive to industrialize our coasts, we’ll see more carbon pollution, more climate change – and of course more devastating oil spills.
We must address both of these threats to wildlife head-on, and we must do it now.