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Wind vs. Oil

Date : Fri, 30 Apr 2010 11:09:35 -0400

For Immediate Release
Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100 April 30, 2010

Wind vs. Oil: The Choice Is Now Wind Baby Wind!

  We are at a crossroads both in New Jersey and the nation, and the future direction this country is going to take when it comes to energy. We can either go down the path of clean, renewable energy or continue the mistakes of the past.

"We are here today to make sure the Garden State beaches do not fill up with Quaker State," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Offshore wind is the most reliable and cost effective form of renewable energy. Once it's installed, it costs very little to run and operate compared to coal, oil or nuclear where you have to keep buying fuel. It costs a tenth of what it does to operate those forms of energy.

"Right now decisions are being made in Washington on whether to continue with the fossil foolishness of the past or move to clean energy. This week we see both happening: the approval of the wind farm off Massachusetts and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is our future. We can't have it both ways. The U.S. uses 25% of the world's energy and has only 2% of its reserves. We have to make that decision now," said Tittel.

In the past week we've seen a tragedy that turned an oil platform into a roman candle off our coast then sink; and the spill keeps growing and growing. By the time the spill hits the shores of Louisiana it will be the size of New Jersey. This could be the biggest ecological disaster to hit our coast in more than forty years. Not since the Santa Barbara oil well spill in the 1960's are we going to see the kind of devastation that will soon affect our beaches, wetlands, sea mammals, birds and fisheries. This could wipe out one of the most productive fishing industries in the country.

"We don't want the new BP recipe for blackened fish in New Jersey," Tittel said.

If this kind of spill happened off the coast of New Jersey it would devastate not only our beaches and wildlife refuges, but destroy a $39 billion tourism economy and a $750 million per year fishing economy. If there were drilling off the coast of Delaware, they would want to land the oil on New Jersey through pipelines that could also do serious environmental damage. A spill like this off Delaware's coast would put the beaches from Cape May to Sandy Hook in its direct path.

"The only slick things we ever want on our beaches are the characters from The Jersey Shore," said Tittel.

One action being taken to clean up this spill is to burn off the oil. Based on the daily spillage of 5,000 barrels, burning the oil will produce 2,000 tons of CO2 plus other air toxins each day. This is the equivalent of adding 125,000 cars to New Jersey roads.

The big oil companies have spent millions trying to sell the public on offshore drilling. They should have put that money into safety equipment and valves that close. Big oil has said trust us, that with new technology we will avoid spills, but the Gulf of Mexico has proved them wrong. One quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water. We cannot trust big oil with out energy future. Even if the odds were one in a million, it's not worth the risk to our economy and to our environment.

Under current MMS rules it is easier to put an oil well off our coasts than to put a windmill. We need to change that. MMS has not developed rules for offshore wind and that process may take three years. In addition, environmental analysis may take up to six years. Under the current system it may take three different environmental analyses. What this means is that the soonest we could have windmills off our coasts is 2016, but it will probably be more like 2018. Offshore leases for oil testing could start at 2012. Of the area currently leased for offshore oil drilling, only 7% is being used.

We cannot drill ourselves into energy independence. We have to explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy.

We need to have a climate bill that regulates greenhouse gases, promotes green energy over fossil fuels, does not subsidize clean coal or nuclear power; but moves us forward toward green jobs and a better environment.

The New Jersey Sierra Club is extremely disappointed that the Obama Administration has chosen to revisit failed policies and promote dirty fuel. President Obama should reinstate the offshore oil moratorium in the Mid-Atlantic and the MMS should withdraw the proposal and expedite review for offshore wind.

"The only oil we ever want to see on our beaches is Coppertone. That's why we say wind baby wind," said Tittel.

Christine Guhl Program Assistant New Jersey Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 Tel: (609) 656-7612 Fax: (609) 656-7618 christine.guhl_at_sierraclub.org

Received on 2010-04-30 08:09:35

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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