Statement on Offshore Seismic Surveying (April 2010)
- In the nation's economic and environmental interests, it is imperative that we pursue clean energy as rapidly as possible. The November 2009 Scientific American cover article presents a convincing and compelling proposal for the complete transition of our domestic energy economy to the use of wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal sources within the next 10 to 15 years.
- America's energy independence can only be achieved through this or a very similar renewable energy strategy, and the technology needed to realize it already exists. Conversion to these renewable forms of energy is taking place at a phenomenal rate in northern Europe, where just in the past five years some of the world's most technologically advanced countries have implemented solar, wind, and geothermal sources to the point where they now generate 20% or more of their domestic needs.
- It is proposed that new seismic technology poses some indeterminate prospect of discovering previously unknown sources of offshore oil and/or natural gas. It is not clear what the probability of such results would be, nor are the environmental costs in achieving them fully understood, though clearly the environmental risks are serious and well substantiated. Unless vast new sources are discovered, which is unlikely, there is no possibility that U.S. oil reserves will be sufficient enough to affect the world supply or consumer price.
- By pursuing the exploration and development of offshore oil and gas, the public is being led to believe that the petroleum, fossil-fuel based economy holds promise and that America is justified in continuing to cultivate this polluting, costly form of energy. We believe the fossil-fuel path is a wasteful, dangerous distraction from the urgent need to make the quickest possible transition to a clean energy economy.
- Due to both the uncertain but dubious benefits and risky costs of the pursuit of offshore fossil fuel development and the untimely distraction from an urgently needed renewable energy strategy caused by the false promise of offshore fossil fuels, we are convinced that this proposal should not be supported. If the U.S. fails to play a leading role in the rapid transition to a renewable energy future, our nation will miss a critical opportunity to remain competitive in the global economy.
- Energy independence and environmental responsibility demand that the U.S. give highest priority to implementing a renewable energy strategy. Pursuit of fossil fuel development will only serve to undermine the political support needed to take timely steps that are essential to our true national interest in the 21st century.