As political pressure mounts in favor of opening the continental shelf to offshore drilling, public opinion has begun to sway in favor of expanding domestic oil production, and specifically offshore oil production. It seems like the collective memory of the American public is rather brief, as support for offshore drilling fell precipitously following the BP Deep Horizon disaster only to rebound in recent weeks as gas prices tick up.
Oceana’s report contends that harnessing offshore wind power to make electricity instead of erecting drilling rigs to pump for hydrocarbons would not only cut the chance of future environmental catastrophes like the Deepwater Horizon spill, but would also reduce the use of coal for electricity generation, which is a leading source of the East Coast’s energy consumption. Burning coal to generate electricity is the dirtiest method of energy production and by decreasing its use the United States could dramatically cut its CO2 output – a necessary step to prevent the most severe consequences of unchecked global climate change.
(Graph from Oceana‘s Untapped Wealth – Offshore Wind Report)
The development of offshore wind along the Eastern Seaboard would yield a reliable and clean energy source, good-paying American jobs, and greater independence from fuels that pollute our air and drain our economy.