Offshore Energy Report Details Potential Resources Without Weighing Risks

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Richard Charter, mobile: (707) 696-1363, office: (202) 629-3372
Erin McCallum, (202) 772-3217

Offshore Energy Report Details Potential Resources Without Weighing Risks

Defenders of Wildlife calls for a more balanced approach

WASHINGTON - The Department of the Interior today released a
hastily-prepared report estimating potential offshore renewable energy
resources, as well as possible oil and gas deposits that might be found along
America’s coastlines. While the report will be a major focus of upcoming public
meetings, it fails to adequately examine the other side of the equation: the
potential for major long-term harm to other coastal resources from offshore
energy development, particularly from fossil fuels.

“The Obama administration has promised to take a more thoughtful approach to
the stewardship of America’s coastal waters than the preceding administration,”
said Richard Charter, consultant for Defenders of Wildlife.  “However,
today’s draft report is filled with outdated petroleum estimates and wild
guesses about hypothetical energy potential.”

Today’s report was prepared in just 45 days, apparently using past seismic
survey data long kept on file by the Minerals Management Service and the U.S.
Geological Survey. The report attempts to quantify rough estimates of possible
oil and gas and the hypothetical potential of various offshore wind, wave and
tidal energy sites. However, while the report briefly summarizes environmental
issues, it does not incorporate any significant recent information about the
regional economies and living marine resources that would be affected by
industrial development of petroleum resources, nor does the report address the
significant impacts of carbon fuel consumption on global warming.

“The existing, coastal-dependent economic base of shoreline communities
nationwide is not really considered in the report, nor are the immense dollar
values represented by commercial and sport fisheries, ocean ecosystems, national
parklands, tourism uses, and the habitats for marine wildlife that rely
completely on clean, ecologically productive coastal waters,” said Charter.
“Today’s report demonstrates the need for a more balanced approach that
considers the long-term impacts of drilling on climate, and balances energy
development with existing uses of the sea and seabed for the benefit of
wildlife, fisheries and the human communities that depend on these
resources.”

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

The Department of the Interior report is available online and will be the
focus of upcoming public hearings to be held in Atlantic City on April 6, in New
Orleans on April 8, in Anchorage on April 14, and in San Francisco on April
16.

See locations and details about these upcoming public hearings

Read today’s full report from the Department of the Interior

View our podcast regarding the upcoming hearings

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Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.

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