USA - Why the US needs to end coastal drilling
The Orange County coastline has become the latest casualty of the nation’s unhealthy dependence on oil.
In one of the biggest California spills in decades, a pipeline connected to an offshoot oil platform off the coast of Huntington Beach released at least 126,000 gallons of crude over the weekend.
By Sunday morning, the smell of diesel and tar hovered in the coastal air as clumps of crude washed ashore, along with dead birds and fish. Out on the water, a vast oil slick larger than city of Santa Monica had formed.
And crews worked feverishly to clean up the oil that had seeped into the delicate coastal marshlands and to prevent greater damage to this essential habitat for migratory birds. Orange County officials estimate that the affected beaches could be closed for weeks or even months.
This is why the U.S. needs to end coastal oil drilling.
Some 23 oil and gas drilling platforms are in federal waters off the California coastline. This spill originated from a platform called Elly, which was installed in 1980.
Elly sits above a large reservoir of oil, in waters overseen by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Environmentalists have long warned that aging oil facilities off the coast pose a serious risk, with one activist calling them “time bombs.”
New drilling permits haven’t been issued since 1980s, but that almost changed under former President Donald Trump. His administration sought to open all federal waters off the U.S. coastline to oil and natural gas exploration. The backlash from states was swift. Trump reversed course and proposed expanding bans on offshore drilling in select federal waters.