Action: Submit a comment on the proposed National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2022.

About: The proposal opens 11 potential lease sales (10 in the Gulf of Mexico and 1 in Cook Inlet, Alaska). The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has opened the proposal to public comment until August 17th and has requested information on “the economic, social, and environmental values of all OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) resources, as well as the potential impact of oil and gas exploration and development on other resource values of the OCS and the marine, coastal, and human environments.”

How-to:

Internet comments can be submitted here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=BOEM-2017-0050-0001

The form must be submitted within 20 minutes of initiating the comment, and file attachments cannot exceed 10 MB.

Snail mail comments should be sent to: Ms. Kelly Hammerle, National Program Manager, BOEM, 45600 Woodland Road, Mailstop VAM-LD, Sterling, VA 20166.

Sample comment:

I am a female scientist and I object to the opening of these regions for offshore drilling due the risks to the environment and public health. While ensuring that the United States has sufficient energy supplies is important, continuing to support and encourage sources of energy with waning economic potential and large environmental and public health risks is not the path to a bright future for America. Public opinion supports environmental protection and increased renewable energy utilization over increased exploitation of natural resources (http://www.gallup.com/poll/206159/americans-tilt-toward-protecting-environment-alternative-fuels.aspx?g_source=us+environment&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles, http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/10/04/public-opinion-on-renewables-and-other-energy-sources/). Additionally, the safety recommendations of the National Commision on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling should be implemented immediately to avoid similar disasters at any current or future offshore drilling sites.

Drilling in Cook Inlet should be undertaken with great care due to the increased environmental challenges of drilling and the risk of destruction of crucial habitat for economically and culturally significant marine species. The pipeline from current drilling operations in Cook Inlet has recently suffered from leaks and efforts to understand the extent of the leaks were hindered by sea ice cover. This is simply one example of the additional difficulties posed by drilling in the Arctic. Drilling in the Arctic is not presently a safe source of energy.

Opening more drilling sites in the Gulf of Mexico is in direct opposition to the wishes of over 120 Gulf communities and restrictions on potential drilling sites is supported by the Department of Defense and Congressional representatives of both parties. Do not ignore the wishes of the communities who have the most to gain, and the most to lose from offshore drilling.