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ACTION ALERT: Stop Offshore Oil Drilling!


July 13, 2006
Mark J. Palmer / International Marine Mammal Project

Dear LFA Activists:

Senators have reached a deal with Florida to move forward with a plan to end the moratorium on offshore oil drilling!

Below is an analysis of this deal by Richard Charter of the OCS Coalition opposed to expanded offshore oil drilling.

As always, we now need to contact our members of the Senate to stop this stupid legislation:

Calls, faxes and e-mails to our Senators!

Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Ask for your Senator's office.

You can look up your Senator online at:
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

On your Representative's and Senator's home pages, you can often send messages directly to them via e-mail, or get their fax number under their list of contacts.

Ask them to OPPOSE ANY AMENDMENTS TO ALLOW OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING OR LIFT THE MORATORIUM ON OCS DEVELOPMENT! (The major concern on "da Hill", as we expert lobbyists call it, is that the Republican/Oily Leadership will attach the OCS bill as an amendment to some unrelated bill.)

Thanks for your help! Congress only has about a month more of actual time for business this year, as they plan to adjourn on Oct. 3rd for electioneering and will take most of August off as well. We must be prepared for dirty tricks, but time is against the Republican leaders. And they know an election is coming up FAST!



Background in Response to Senate Offshore Drilling "Deal"
Richard Charter

(July 12, 2006) A US Senate Republican "compromise" announced today to open at least 8 million acres off the Gulf Coast of Florida to offshore drilling rigs also threatens every other coastal state by clearing the way for a recent House-passed drilling bill to be adopted in a conference committee.

Florida's entire coast is currently protected by the 25-year bipartisan congressional moratorium and also by a second, separate measure initiated by former President George H.W. Bush which sets aside these same coastal areas until 2012.

Today's announcement by Florida's Senator Mel Martinez removes the longstanding congressional moratorium and presidential withdrawals from 6.3 million acres of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico off of Marco Island, and in return claims to have secured new protection of uncertain duration extending seaward 125 miles off of Florida's Gulf Coast - but only 25 miles off of Pensacola. Within this so-called protected area, however, lie 100 non-producing offshore tracts that could still be opened to new drilling at any time, some only 15 miles from Florida's Panhandle beaches.

Today's Senate action, if eventually adopted on the Senate floor, endangers all other coastal states because a separate drilling bill, authored by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and passed by the House in June, would become eligible for Joint House Senate-Conference negotiations later this summer. The Pombo drilling bill in the House lifts all congressional moratoria and presidential withdrawals that have long protected sensitive coastal waters from offshore drilling along the US east and west coasts. The Pombo bill would instead require states to submit continual requests for protection at least every five years, without which drilling could take place immediately.

While today's deal by Senator Martinez might first appear to affect only Florida, it unnecessarily sacrifices the sensitive shorelines of all of the other coastal states without whose help Florida's waters could not have been protected for the past twenty-five years.

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