All Hell breaks loose!

As anticipated, Department of Interior’s capo Ryan Zinke announced yesterday that they plan on opening up the entire US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to Oil and Gas leasing. This is despite hundreds of thousands of voices speaking up against this proposal – and a disposition that was settled in consideration of these public, business, and governmental voices who did not want the future that the oilmen were offering.

Also being served up on this trajectory is a rolling back of post Deepwater Horizon safety measures, and the elimination of a 9 cent/barrel oil-spill trust fund. The Administration is also teeing up a proposal to eliminate the Well Control Blow Out Protector rule, and a hideous piece of legislation called “The SECURE Act,” which, once signed into law will all but eliminate the Marine Mammal Protection Act, restrict “Federal interference” in offshore operations, limit future Presidential authority over OCS protections, and a passel of other goodies for the oilmen  – essentially handing over the management of the OCS to the fossil fuel industry.

Of course this festival of Government over-reach is not a done deal; it is more of an explosive gesture from a dying industry wanting to foist all of their costs onto all other ocean enterprises – from fishing, to tourism, coastal real estate, recreation; and even US Naval operations.

It is clear that when the industry wants to shed safety standards, unfetter themselves from environmental responsibilities, and transfer their field development and oil-spill mitigation costs to US Taxpayers (even to the point of nicking nine cents off the ~$56/barrel of oil), it is not a sign of a robust business model.

So what does this all have to do with our focus on ocean noise pollution? Should the oilmen get their way, the ocean will never sound the same. Once the seismic surveys required to find the deposits begin, they will never cease, because the surveys are required to continuously  monitor the state of the deposits as they draw down. And then there will be thruster-stabilized platforms, seafloor processing, underwater acoustical communications networks, and all of the shipping traffic associated with transporting product, workers, and servicing a gargantuan offshore industrial enterprise.

So while there is ample concern for oil spills (which we are assured “won’t happen”) the clear and present environmental devastation that would result from handing the Outer Continental Shelf over to just one industry will be all the noise it will create – at the expense of all marine life (including our own marine food supply).

Fortunately, this is not an “open and shut case.” The extent of this over-reach is so broad that state governors and elected representatives (from both sides of the aisle), environmental NGOs, marine businesses, the majority of the American public, and even the US Navy are all opposed to the Grand Plan.

There will be public hearings and comment periods on the Offshore Five-year Leasing Plan and the rollback of the safety standards and well control rule. Even the “business friendly” Republican Congress has some reservations about the SECURE Act.

And there will be lawsuits. Lengthy. Expensive. Lawsuits.

Once all the dust settles, it will be a bitter pill to swallow if our delay in moving away from fossil fuels has us buying our solar panels, our wind generators, and our light rail and transportation infrastructure from China…

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7 comments for “All Hell breaks loose!

  1. Laurie Gogic
    January 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    We have to stop this Secure Act from happening! If it gets passed, it will lead to the demise of all marine life that we hold dear. Why persue a dying, dirty, polluting industry that makes millionaires richer at the expense of the environment and keeps the US from being on the leading edge of developing green energy. We need to contact our legislators and protest this act that will be devastating to our country and take us back to the dark ages of killing our environment!

  2. Mr. Donlon McGovern
    January 6, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Spokespeople for the oily industry tell us that there are sufficient safeguards in place to protect the environment so we don’t need to worry. The Gulf Coast and Valdez straits are still polluted. Oil trains blow up and destroy lives. Pipelines pollute sources of drinking water. They tell us it will create jobs but fail to take into account the losses sustained by those dependent on fish and other seafoods for life and for a living. This is pure and simple greed at the cost of human and animal life as well as the health of the planet.

  3. Kelly Bergeron
    January 6, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Where are the Dr. Kavorkian pills? I need some! I no longer wish to be involved in the human race that is, “balls to the wall” greedy.

  4. January 10, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    And the really bad ideas just keep spewing from this administration.

    • mstocker
      January 10, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Hey Rick, as someone who understands the sacrality of water you should know that they are proposing equivalent activities on land – breaking up the Parks and Monuments under the ruse of “providing greater public access” (to private companies) and abandoning environmental protections that might hamper their fracking activities.

    • Mr. Donlon McGovern
      January 10, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      Yes, hundreds of thousands of voices but they don’t add up when you are dealing with an administration that only measures things in large denominations. Corporate money is winning. It’s only the “little people”, i.e. the inhabitants of earth who lose.

      • mstocker
        January 10, 2018 at 7:25 pm

        The water has not been run on this yet. While this administration is not given to listening to the public, they are also getting all tangled up in their own underwear. Zinke’s “retraction” of Florida this morning was a pretty loose move that flies in the face of regulatory procedure as well as governmental decorum. It makes it clear that “He” is making the decision, not the American public. Even a stacked court would be hard-pressed to see it otherwise.

        You can comment on the offshore leases here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=BOEM-2017-0074

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