My Op Ed first appeared in The Coast News, July 13, 2018 by Eve Simmons
Worried about seeing oil rigs off our coast? Concerned about what an oil spill might do to our beaches? How about the potential damage to our property values, our local economy, tourism, fishing industry, and public health? Contemplating toxic fracking water being dumped into our local seas? Vexed about how oil drilling could interfere with military operations? Bothered by the thought of harm to marine life? Upset about our continued reliance on dirty energy which exacerbates pollution, ocean acidification, and climate change? When it comes to the many ways we continue to abuse our magnificent coastal waters, if the Pacific Ocean could talk it might say, “#MeToo”.
We Southern Californians can and should speak up to prevent further unnecessary damage to our Big Blue. As citizens, we should prevail upon our elected officials to DO ALL THEY CAN to keep our coastlines beautiful, clean and unspoiled. I urge readers to flex their civic voices in support of vibrant, healthy, and sustainable ocean policies. To that end, I’m submitting an open letter to Congressman Darrell Issa acknowledging the positive action he has taken so far and asking him to amplify his message on our behalf to the federal government.
Dear Congressman Issa,
I commend you for championing our great Pacific Ocean with your website statement in response to the Department of the Interior’s proposed offshore oil drilling plan as follows:
“It’s not the time to reopen California’s shoreline to new drilling. Secretary Zinke has said that the ‘states and local communities’ will have a voice, but Californians have made themselves clear: they do not want new drilling off our coasts. I will work to ensure that voice is heard and that California’s coastal areas are taken out of consideration.” Congressman Darrell Issa
Thank you for speaking up Mr. Issa. To ensure that our voices are heard, please go on official record, by sending a letter directly to the Department of Interior’s Secretary Zinke respectfully demanding that he take Southern California’s waters off the table for proposed expanded offshore drilling.
As your long Congressional tenure winds down, one of the most important and lasting legacies you could bequeath our state would be to preserve and protect our ocean from increased offshore drilling.
This proposal ignores the clearly documented, massive costs and punishing effects of burning fossil fuels, namely: carbon pollution, ocean acidification, warming seas, sea level rise, increased extreme weather, punishing storm surges, increased heatwaves, droughts, and larger, more destructive wildfires due to climate change. It doesn’t consider the potential damage to marine life through seismic air gun blasting techniques used in exploration for fossil fuels. Nor does it mention the expanded tanker traffic needed for additional transport pipelines. It doesn’t include the long-term monetary and environmental risks of offshore oil spills. Neither does it address the deleterious effects on public health, or the untreated toxic wastewater which is routinely dumped directly into our oceans from the fracking of offshore wells. As the great oceanographer, Dr. Silvia Earle says, “No blue, no green. No oceans, no us”.
Expanded offshore drilling would interfere with Navy and Marine training and testing areas, thus jeopardizing local jobs, a huge influx of military spending in our region, and our nation’s national security. According to the Department of Defense, military spending is projected to yield over $51 billion of San Diego County’s GRP in 2018, while generating 343,000 jobs. Let’s not make their job even harder. Please write directly to the decisionmakers Congressman Issa, in the loudest and strongest terms possible.
With gratitude, from all of us who cherish our coastal way of life.
Eve Simmons is a Southern California based, decades-long environmental advocate, lecturer, blogger, volunteer lobbyist, Congressional liaison on climate, a former San Diego Fish and Wildlife Advisory Commissioner and a resident of Cardiff by the Sea, CA. Her website is TheGreenFlash.org