We can’t quit fossil fuels.
A little more than a month after the end of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, the Obama administration has announced plans to allow offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic in an area that stretches from Maryland to Georgia.
The Guardian recently speculated Obama might use his final year as president to “forge ahead on his environmental agenda.”
But the president isn’t pushing for stricter environmental protections or serious efforts to switch to renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.
He’s caving to pressure from the fossil fuel industry.
It is as though we learned nothing from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
After an offshore oil rig owned by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, marine life was decimated.
Effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continue to be seen today.
Marine animals and humans alike still suffer from health problems.
We do not want to see another disaster off the coast.
In Kure Beach, North Carolina, a small town depends on marine life and tourism of the environment for its economic survival.
Nearly the entire town opposes offshore drilling, and one resident accused Obama of “flip-flopping” on the issue of offshore drilling.
If President Obama is serious about addressing climate change, he must lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. His “Clean Power Plan” aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent between 2005 and 2030.
But we find Obama’s approach contradictory.
We realize the U.S. can’t and won’t quit oil and other fossil fuels overnight.
We find it hard to reconcile Obama’s opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline with his support of offshore drilling in this region.
This is especially hard to believe given that the area has been protected from such ventures since 1984.
According to the Guardian, the American Petroleum Institute estimates the area may produce the equivalent of 6,000 barrels a day of oil and natural gas by 2026.
But don’t we want to reduce our carbon emissions by then?
Our addiction to fossil fuels must be addressed at the state and local levels as well.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has made no secret of his love of coal.
In a 2014 opinion piece published in the Indianapolis Star, Pence railed against the Environmental Protection Agency and “an onslaught of regulations from Washington” because it increases the cost of electricity.
However, this board thinks it is important to keep in mind the EPA exists for a reason.
Fossil fuels are major culprits behind climate change.
They can cause massive environmental damage and serious health problems in humans and animals.
Instead of opening up over half of the Atlantic coast to dangerous new oil and gas drilling, we could invest more heavily in solar and wind energy.
Like any addict, this country seems to be having a hard time kicking the habit.