We need less offshore drilling... not more!

While environmental groups work tirelessly to end offshore oil drilling, the Obama Administration proposes opening up new areas along our coastline to fossil fuel extraction.

Last week, President Obama released his five-year plan for offshore drilling, which includes a proposal for more drilling off our Atlantic Coast. Although this plan would provide new protections for a few environmentally sensitive areas near Alaska, it would open a new section of the continental shelf that stretches from Georgia to Virginia. That area has been off-limits to oil drilling for three decades partly because of the potential havoc a spill in that region could have on our environment and our economy.

According to EcoWatch.com, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster affected more than 1,000 miles of coastline. If a similar spill was to occur off our Atlantic coast, it would wash up on shores from Savannah to Boston.

And, despite the massive devastation caused by that blowout in the Gulf, very little has changed in the form of government regulation. According to Elizabeth Birnbaum, who oversaw government regulation of the offshore drilling industry back in 2010, the Obama administration hasn't even implemented most of the safety recommendations made by their own experts.

Ms. Birnbaum said that she “would never have imagined so little action would be taken to prevent something like [the BP disaster] from happening again.” And, that certainly means that no one could have imagined that we would expand drilling before implementing more regulations.

The fact is, there is no such thing as safe offshore drilling, and no such thing as a good way to burn fossil fuels. There is no upside to increasing oil drilling off our coastlines, but there is a whole lot of risk.

It's great that President Obama wants to protect more of the Arctic, but that doesn't excuse putting our Atlantic coastline at risk for the next drilling-related disaster.

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