Ted Danson was on Capitol Hill yesterday testifying before Congress about the importance of reinstating the lapsed moratorium on offshore oil drilling. Under the Bush Administration (cue dark music), the 26-year-old ban on drilling in over 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf, including Atlantic, Pacific and Alaskan waters was allowed to expire last October. Now, Congress is deciding whether to reinstate the ban or place new limits on off-shore drilling.
Danson, as a co-founder and board member of the ocean conservation group Oceana, urged Congress to reinstate the ban. “The oil companies are making us a sucker’s offer, asking us to take on 100 percent of the risk of offshore drilling, for just a fraction of any benefits,” he said. “More oil spills mean less abundant oceans. More oil spills mean fewer wonderful, pristine beaches. More oil spills mean fewer jobs,” he added.
Though many have advocated offshore drilling as a means to reduce energy prices and reduce dependence on foreign oil, the risks truly do outweigh the benefits. A U.S. Energy Information Administration statement recently said “that any effect on oil and gas prices from increased offshore drilling would be insignificant, producing roughly 200,000 barrels in additional oil per day in 2030, which is 1 percent of current U.S. consumption.”
Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and a board member of Ocean Conservancy, also testified — and said if the moratorium is lifted, we should proceed with caution. “If there is to be new drilling, we must at the very least legislate to ensure the process of new drill siting and the conditions applied to exploration and production minimize their impacts,” Cousteau said.