Our Generation Screwed Over by Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan

“Its like a kick in the face” says Jonathan Ruiz of Florida International University.  Jonathan campaigned for Obama for fourteen months, and now he’s livid about today’s announcement by the administration to open half the east coast to offshore drilling.

“I was born near Florida’s Emerald Gulf Coast.” says Graham Penniman of University of Central Florida.  “The memories that I have on those beaches brings me so much joy, that every night I fall asleep thinking about the moons reflection across the water. To imagine my beach any other way destroys my heart.”

Image from the NY times

Why are these Florida university students mad?  They are being sold out by the Obama administration in a misguided attempt to curry political favor.  From the NYTimes:

“The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.”

Youth, the millennial generation so inspired by Obama to vote in record numbers, have the most to lose from the expansion of drilling.  Even some coastal governors and senators will be angry about the announcement because of the small amount of oil and huge environmental risks.  If white-haired governors and senators are worried, what about young people who are thinking about protecting this coastline for us and our children, long after the tiny amounts of energy have been extracted?

Obama inspired our generation to turn out to the polls, and he can do it again if he moves to actually inspire us.  But youth across the South East have longer memories than this short-sighted political thinking.  Under this proposal the first lease sales for drilling would be held in 2012, a year that Obama will be hoping to connect with us and convince us he stands for our interests.  If young people don’t believe him, they aren’t going to be inspired to vote.  That’s not change we can believe in.

An oil well damaged by Katrina spilled oil into coastal waters

We aren’t going to take this.  A protest is planned for an event in Florida today where Newt Gingrich will be promoting drilling.  Nevermind that he needs to entice people to come with free “Drill Here Drill Now Pay Less” bumper stickers to the first 1000 rsvps, this event shows how dangerously aligned the Obama administration is getting to the industry-cheerleading GOP.

Lets really listen to Megan Maloney at the University of Central Florida when she says “As a young America citizen I am fearful for my future because of Obama’s decision of pursuing more offshore drilling off our coasts.”  And Keziyah Lewis of Florida State University points to the DOE report on the cost of actually extracting that energy to say “obviously offshore oil drilling just doesn’t make sense when you compare the cost of infrastructure, research, etc, to the amount of fuel that is attainable, it’s like throwing money down the toilet.”

President Obama, Ken Salaz and the rest of your teams, hear us loud and clear: young people oppose offshore drilling.

“I understand that they want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but why not reduce our dependence on oil all together. Our tax dollars are being used to drill for something that will just disappear. It is a triple negative; we use oil to run the machines that drill for that oil that we then use to fuel our lives. What kind of generation will we be viewed as if we destroy our oceans just because we want a year or two of independence from other countries? We need to stop worrying about only ourselves and think about our children and grandchildren, how is this going to effect them, what are they going to do when all our oil is gone? Why are we investing in something that can just disappear when we can put our money towards something that can last a lifetime.”  Amanda Glaze, University of West Florida

31 Responses to “Our Generation Screwed Over by Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan”


  1. 1 Anonymous Mar 31st, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Did wall street, the banking cartels, and the oil industry threaten to kennedy obama? Did they offer him a stake on cocaine mountain their private resort?

    Does Obama think that middle of the road means prostituting our country to foreign monopolies and american oligarchs?

    Who is going to vote for wall street, the banks, oil companies and the military industrial complexes’ president?

    obama is acting like these industries “house boy” selling everyone who isn’t a billionaire down the river for the oligarchs approval.

  2. 2 Anna Mar 31st, 2010 at 6:46 am

    So what do you reckon? A mass letter-writing campaign threatening civil disobedience if they go ahead with the plan? Followed by, about a month later, rolling youth sit-ins at congressional offices across the country?

    If they win this one, it’s a slippery slope. We can’t let them get these first runs on the board. They’re meant to be *solving* climate change, not *causing* it!

  3. 3 Valerie Mar 31st, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I totally agree with this article!! I was appalled at hearing this morning’s announcement. YES, let’s get off the oil addiction and not be selfish greedy Americans anymore. How can we be heard?

  4. 4 Mark Mar 31st, 2010 at 9:58 am

    No matter if we drill off the coast of the US or import oil from the Middle East, the simple fact of the matter is that we are still, for the near term, dependent on oil. It is simply going to take a decade or more to even get to the pont where we begin to see an offsetting of our reliance on oil and natural gas. Better to produce it at home where we will realize an increased number of jobs and domestic tax revenues off exploration, drilling and production. For those of you who would rather keep importing oil from the Middle East, I say go join Al Qaeda.

  5. 5 Lea Lupkin Mar 31st, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I was incredibly upset and disappointed in the Obama administration when I heard this on NPR today. I read the DOE report cited in this article, and it concludes: “the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices.” In other words, it’s NOT WORTH IT from an economic standpoint, and we certainly know it’s not worth it from an environmental standpoint (and how about the standpoint of our generation and future generations that will bear the burden of climate change?). How about investing the incredible amount of money that would be necessary to extract and refine that oil into fuel efficiency development and implementation efforts, Obama? I’d support that.

  6. 6 Jill Mar 31st, 2010 at 10:45 am

    We have to do something to change this decision. This is too important to stick our heads in the sand and hope it goes away. Unfortunately, I do not have any ideas at this time to what can be done. I do however offer my services to anyone that does as long as it is not insane or counter-productive.

  7. 7 JP Mar 31st, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    His attempt to curry favor from the republicans worked real well. “House Republican Leader John Boehner on Wednesday criticized the administration for keeping the vast majority of America’s offshore energy resources off limits at a time when, the Ohio representative said, Americans want an “all of the above” strategy for promoting American energy production and creating American jobs.”

  8. 8 eric Mar 31st, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    these people are wanting to destroy the earth and even for a small amount of oil this is it plain and simple they must be stopped

  9. 9 Chris Mar 31st, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    lol you guys are funny. Where do you think the gas for your car comes from? Where do you think your heating source comes from? Unless you bike everyday and live in a house with no electricity or fuel, then you’re just a part of this as much as anyone else. We need domestic oil over the short-term to counteract the huge amount of oil that we import. Drop the hippie act, it’s not 1969 and oil wells today have a far less impact on the environment compared to years ago. Unless you can power you car on butterflies and rainbows, this is something that I’m glad Obama is supporting.

  10. 10 Jeff L. Mar 31st, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    So, it’s ok to drill for oil as long as it’s not where we can see it? And then waste additional energy shipping that oil–which itself carries the risk of a spill. All those middle eastern countries and Venezuela aren’t doing good for the environment either. I suspect more than half the pseudo-environmental concern is over aesthetics or religious belief. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Yes, we should also reduce dependence on oil, period. But in the meantime, yes, we should drill where we can, and insist that oil companies pay for *all* impacts. So yes, we should reduce dependence on foreign oil. Those who are adamant about no drilling in the US are being narrow-minded. The environmental impact nowadays is far overstated (and far reduced from what it used to be).

    Our generation has been screwed over far more by both Bush and Obama’s reckless handling of finances, and you’re worried about the aesthetic impact of a distant oil rig that you can barely see? Grow up.

  11. 11 Tom Mar 31st, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I’m an old guy who campaigned for Mr. Obama in 2008 in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

    I feel betrayed, and certainly will not work for him again.

  12. 12 Morgan Mar 31st, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Jeff L: you say ‘we should reduce dependence on oil, period.’ I don’t see how opening up new areas to drilling does that at all.

    Supporters often use the argument that we can keep oil companies in line here more than in other countries. Yet we aren’t doing the biggest step required to keep them in line which is firmly establishing that we will phase out oil. As it stands, we’re saying to the oil companies ‘as oil runs out we’ll give you access to more and more marginal reserves, and it’ll be cost effective because the price will be going up.’ I’d rather not keep giving them dirtier ways to extract oil (tar sands anyone?) while we peddle our feet deciding how to replace it.

    We’re not going to run out of currently harvested supplies of oil tomorrow, and not this year. But they are going to start getting scarce. That scarcity should drive innovation in alternatives, not innovation in extraction.

  13. 13 Tom O'Connell Mar 31st, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    The price of the health care bill. McCain and Palin preached the gospel of offshore drilling during the presidential campaign. Trade you the health care bill for offshore drilling?

  14. 14 Erin Green Mar 31st, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Well, I feel totally sold out. Does he not realize that conservatives are still going to call him a Commie?

  15. 15 jawbone Apr 1st, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    We’re sold out; Obama was bought out. At least it sure looks that way. Has he met a Big Corporate group he doens’t love to fluff and kowtow to?

    OK, I better settle down. But I am furious at this sell out.

    This commenter at FDL put it succinctly:

    2) DanR March 31st, 2010 at 11:11am

    The President knows we cannot drill our way to energy independence

    Reminds me of Kevin Baker’s observation that Barack Obama, again and again–whether it’s about war, terrorism, healthcare or the environment–tells us that the current system is broken and then proceeds to tell us that the system must be maintained. (My emphasis)

    (Now I’ll see if tags work here…)

  16. 16 Kathy Apr 2nd, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Some of you young posters are missing the point in accusing others of missing the point that we need gas and shipping produces risk as well. The risk to the aquatic environment from drilling is considerably higher than the shipping risk, and, given the increasing strength of hurricanes, there’s little security in these sources.

    More importantly, there is a serious time lag in developing these sources–and both time and expenditures could be more effectively used in production of alternative sources. The evaluations I’ve read on this have indicated that the final output will be relatively small when it is actualized. The damage to other industries–which also produce jobs–such as tourism, fishing, etc., could easily outweigh the employment created. This can be substantiated by researching consequences of prior spills.

    To Jeff L:
    1.)You are really not getting it if you think those who are concerned about this are simply upset about aesthetic issues of “a distant oil rig’ and you need to grow up, learn how to analyse research, and stop mimickiing completely erroneous allegations that the environmental impact is ‘far overstated’ and ‘far reduced’ from what it has been. I’ve been following this for at least 35 years and challenge you to substantiate that from research not funded by the energy industry.

    Also, minimalization is a common tactic of those who are aware of the superficial nature of their knowledge and hope to sound authoritative and avoid challenge. (I’ve been privy to classified corporate information and some at contractors for Rand and there has been almost no risk reduction, just more effective ‘damage control’–not real damage, but repression of public knowledge, alteration of data, governmental kickbacks, elimination of leaks, and slick PR.)

    2.)You yourself are actually being narrow-minded in attempting to ignore clearly stated concerns and reduce them to a matter of aesthetics, never an issue in this blog but a viable concern–perhaps you lack the ability to appreciate beauty which has been a source of joy for thousands of years. Your personal limitations do not mean that you have the right to deny others the validity of their values. Your desire to drive unfettered has no inate superiority to anyone else’s desires. That you lack the knowledge of the technological advances which would make drilling a waste of money in the near future is evidence of more than one limitation. (On a logical level, you incorrectly interpret others’ statements, manufacture a red herring, and then erroneously label others based on your own inability to process information–no wonder you haven’t been able to interpret the science.)

    I obtained my MBA in the 70s and, in researching for a course on energy found that Sun Oil had purchased the patents on the most viable alternative energy patents and shelved them. The more I researched–in business and engineering journals–the more disturbing the contrast between the surface reassurances and the data. The amount of distortion of information that flows from this industry, including squelching and flat out falsities–not to mention murder of opponents–is incredible.

    As far as Obama, as with the other older former supporter, I’m done with rationalizing his behavior. I now think we’ve been had, and it’s still hard to contrast the evidence for that with the ‘hopes’ we had for his administration and his personal charm. There’s no way this particular policy has benefit for the nation as a whole and he’s too smart not to realize that.

  17. 17 Mike Fuller Apr 2nd, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    In response to one of the previous posts…most of the US oil DOES NOT come from the Middle East…it comes from CANADA.

    What I LIKE about Obama – he has set out to accomplish everything he said he would do during his campaign…

    What I DO NOT LIKE about Obama – he has set out to accomplish everything he said he would NOT do during his campaign.

    I voted for him because of his environmental values, and healthcare concerns…someone who I believed in to create a CHANGE within the US. Now, he sits he and supplicates to REPUBLICAN needs, that are all money driven.

    It was proven OFF SHORE DRILLING will give us MINIMAL oil over the next 10 years.

    As far as I am concerned Obama is a liar and a traitor…I know I won’t be re-electing him…

    Mike

  18. 18 Jesus Christ Apr 22nd, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    1915 – 1.8 Billion people, 2010 – 6.8 Billion people, Past 95 years – 5 Billion people, Next 500 years – 32 Billion people or more, Problems – Poverty, starvation, global warming, hole in the ozone layer, crime, pollution and land destruction, Solution to problems – “STOP CREATING BECAUSE WE ARE THE PROBLEM”!!!

  19. 19 Kathy Apr 29th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Per Jeff L “The environmental impact nowadays is far overstated (and far reduced from what it used to be).” I think you’re just too smart for our own good. Just one well out of 3500 off the Gulf Coast with its overstated environmental impact and reduced risk is getting way too much attention right now as it threatens over 40% of the wetlands of the US.

    Also, your comment about making the oil companies pay for ‘all’ of the impact is so ludicrous it’s hard to believe you function in today’s world with your lack of contact with reality. The cost of cleanups has NEVER been born completely by the MNCs, let alone the extrapolated impact. Get a brain.

    I have, as I may have mentioned an MBA from a real school from a time when there were real requirements of the students, and am acutely aware of what the real economics of this are. I’m just glad that I plan not to be around as these events play themselves out and idiots like you get to see how shortsighted you really were.

  20. 20 bcole May 20th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    The Gulf Catastrophe could have been avoided if the US were growing algae. Algae is renewable, does not affect the food channel and consumes CO2. No explosions, no fires, no deaths and no environmental problems. What’s wrong with that???

    Algae has been researched in US universities for over 35 years. It’s time to move it out of the lab and go into commercial-scale production. Algaepreneurs are starting to build commercial-scale plants throughout the US using all off-the-shelf existing technologies. More algae production plants are coming online. Algae is one solution to get the US off of foreign oil and create new jobs right here in the US. The algae industry is being built today by Americans who all want to get off foreign oil.

  21. 21 GunnyG Aug 20th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    BTW, OBAMA SUCKS. He sure is doing a GREAT JOB huh? Unemployment UP. Inflation on the way.

    A nice

    14,000,000,000,000,000 DOLLAR DEBT HE amassed in 18 months.

    Well done children.

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About Morgan


Morgan is a wandering climate activist, a job well suited to the editorial board of this site. He organized at Williams College until his aprubt and unfortunate graduation in 2008. There, he was a Chinese major, student body co-president and one of the leaders of Thursday Night Group, the campus climate action group. Since graduating, in no particular order, Morgan has worked on a community energy efficiency campaign in western Mass, co-directed NH SPROG for the SSC and worked on Power Vote in Cleveland. He spent traveled in China, networking with youth climate activists and learning about the solar hot water business. He worked on Long Island for a solar and wind company doing home evaluations and sales. And he spent the better part of a year in DC at the Avaaz Action Factory causing trouble for a good cause.

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