LETTER OPPOSING GAS AND OIL DRILLING OFF LONG ISLAND'S SHORES
On February 14, 2018, LI Clean Air Water & Soil ("CAWS") attended a hearing in Smithtown on this Administration's plan to drill for oil and/or gas off of Long Island's coastline. Posted below is CAWS' letter to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing this plan and requesting a hearing at a location convenient for Suffolk, Nassau and NYC residents, who will be most impacted by this proposal.
Please click here to comment on the Offshore Drilling Plan. The deadline to comment is March 9, 2018.
February 14, 2018
Acting Director Walter Cruickshank
U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Re: Gas and Oil Drilling Off Long Island's Shores
Dear Mr. Cruickshank:
LI Clean Air Water & Soil ("CAWS"), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Long Island's natural resources and its coastline communities, writes to oppose this administration's plan to drill for gas and/or oil off Long Island's shores and to request a hearing at a location on Long Island that is convenient for Nassau, Suffolk and New York City residents.
CAWS' directors have been fighting natural gas facility projects off Long Island's shores for decades. After much community protest, New York Governors Paterson and Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Christie vetoed the Safe Harbor proposal to build a 60-acre island to facilitate the exporting of liquefied natural gas in 2009 and the Port Ambrose proposal for a liquefied natural gas facility in 2014. However, the current proposal to drill for gas and/or oil is not subject to a governor's veto.
The US now produces almost 80% of its energy needs. The need for increased domestic oil production is not increasing but decreasing due to alternative fuel sources including renewable energy. To use our coastline for gas and oil drilling, at the same time that offshore wind proposals move forward and can produce greater amounts of energy with far less risk to the coast and the environment is counter-intuitive.
Increasing the production of gas and oil by drilling off our coast will increase our dependence on fossil fuels and is inconsistent with the state's plan for renewable energy. CAWS believes all of New York's energy needs can be fully generated by renewable sources by 2030. Governor Cuomo did develop a comprehensive plan that mandates 50% of our electricity be generated by renewables. The goal includes 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough to power 1.25 million homes. And he put his plan into action with a proposal to build wind turbines - a new lower-carbon source of electricity - off of our easternmost shores. Still another plan is being considered to build 80-100 turbines off the Long Beach shore. Now this same coastline will be subject to drilling? It is shortsighted in terms of energy production, economics and the environment.
Climate change is real and impacts peoples throughout the world. In the northern hemisphere, climate change is causing more frequent and extreme storms. Drilling for oil and gas is self-destructive. Our communities are still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and other extreme weather events that wreaked havoc on Long Island. If nothing is done, Long Island may lose 21% of its shoreline by the end of the century. Drilling off our coast will exacerbate an already perilous situation and will hasten the loss of our shoreline communities.
Long Island is taking several measures to protect itself from future catastrophic storms. $230 million is being spent on building a berm, dune and groin system that reduces risk against a 100-year storm event for approximately 7 of the 9 miles of public shoreline between Jones Inlet and East Rockaway Inlet, including the communities of Point Lookout, Lido Beach, and the City of Long Beach. Long Islanders are seeking $300 million to fund tidal gates that would prevent tidal incursions into Reynolds Channel, the back bays that reach up to the Five Towns, the southern portions of Island Park, Oceanside, Baldwin, Freeport and Merrick, and all hamlets eastward. NY Rising projects afforded millions of dollars to protect Long Island communities from future storms and thousands of homeowners have invested millions of dollars strengthening their homes in preparation for the next Sandy. Billions of dollars of federal and state money is being spent to stop our sewage treatment plants from dumping nitrogen into our waterways. And now you want to dump oil?
Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1. Research shows that nearly every state in the country has more jobs in clean energy than fossil fuels. The growth of solar energy is staggering. Solar jobs grew 17 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole last year, now up to 260,000 people. Between 2013 and 2015, local employment on Long Island in the industry had almost doubled to at least 2,500 workers. Wind employment jumped 28 percent to 102,000. Here on Long Island, it's time to embrace the new environmentally and economically sound new technology of renewable energy. Indeed, Long Island should be the center of this new industry and let the fossil-fuel industry go the way of the coal industry.
Like Florida, Long Island is renowned for its beaches. Like Florida, Long Island's economy is dependent on tourism.
CAWS, as stewards of our ocean and shores, respectfully requests that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Management reject any and all plans for the exploration of oil and natural gas off our shores. Further, CAWS requests that a hearing be held at a location convenient for Suffolk, Nassau and New York City residents, who will be most impacted by the President's Off-Shore Drilling Plan.
Very truly yours,
Claudia Borecky and Dave Denenberg, Directors