The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one.
The industry and its well-paid allies say that delaying drilling will increase America’s dependence on foreign oil. That ignores a simple truth: A nation using one-quarter of the world’s oil while controlling only 3 percent of the world’s known reserves cannot drill its way to independence. The estimated 7.5 billion barrels the eastern gulf and Atlantic coast are thought to contain are just about what this country consumes in a year.
Read more from this excellent NY Times editorial.
Chevron’s Marine Oil Terminal in Santa Monica Bay is up for lease renewal before State Lands Commission. Chevron is asking for a 30-year lease. Concerned citizens, and environmentalists, (including the Surfrider Foundation) have taken a reasonable stance and are advocating the lease terms be shortened from 30 years to 10 years. We are also advocating that California State Lands Commission (“CSLC”) thoroughly evaluate alternatives for this project and properly identify infrastructure and oil terminal technology that would minimize risks (including a massive oil spill).
An oil spill in Santa Monica Bay is un-mitigatable and would be disastrous to the marine environment, the citizens who live and recreate on Los Angeles County beaches, our local economy and tourism, water quality, and the health of marine life. According to the DEIR, “there is a reasonable possibility that operation of the Marine Terminal offshore loading facilities during the 30-year lease period will cause an oil spill.” Due to the large risk involved with operating a Marine Terminal in Santa Monica Bay this project and its associated EIR should research environmentally superior alternatives as “such an oil spill could significantly affect the physical and biological environments” of Santa Monica Bay.
We have already seen the catastrophic effects of an oil spill earlier this year in the Gulf of Mexico – oil spills happen frequently, and Chevron’s Marine Terminal does not have a perfect record. We cannot underscore the real risk of an oil spill in Santa Monica Bay, and how important it is for the California State Lands Commission (“CSLC”) to thoroughly evaluate alternatives for this project and properly identify infrastructure and oil terminal technology that would minimize the risks.
A shorter lease would allow Chevron to update their oil spill prevention and response plans after lessons have been learned and evaluated from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition, a shorter lease term would also give the CSLC, Chevron, and NOAA the opportunity to better evaluate trends in vessel calls to the Marine Terminal, as well as the environmental impact of any increase in vessel traffic at the Terminal and Santa Monica Bay, especially the impact on marine mammals.
Join us on Dec 10 in asking for a shortened lease.
The meeting starts at 10:00 AM and the item is #47.
DEC 10, FRIDAY
PORT OF SAN DIEGO
BOARD ROOM – 1ST FLOOR
3165 PACIFIC HIGHWAY
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 92101