Say No to Drilling and Yes to Renewable Energy
Needless to say, this is going to be a touchy subject to those environmental groups that opposed HB 190. Just two days ago now, Governor John Carney made a statement that he will refuse any proposal to drill off for oil off the coast of Delaware. A quote from Delaware Public Media states, “Carney said he’s worried about the potential impact that drilling and seismic surveys in the Atlantic could have on Delaware. He noted the state relies on its coastal areas for nearly $7 billion in economic activity and more than 60,000 jobs.” (See the full statement and a link to the letter at the end of this post.) Now, many people have already noted that it has only been a few weeks since Governor Carney signed into law HB 190, otherwise coined the “Coastal Zone Modernization Act.” They have said that if the Governor is so worried about the coastal zone, that he should not have campaigned on, pushed for, and signed this law. However, they agree that drilling off the coast, exploratory or not, is unacceptable.
Exploratory drilling can be just as disruptive as full-scale drilling regard its impact on wildlife. We all know what happened with the BP exploratory drilling with the DeepWater Horizon in the Gulf Coast. Drilling for oil, no matter the level, location, or goal, is dangerous and has inherent risks. Governor Carney was absolutely justified in standing up and saying that this will not be tolerated on our coast. But what about the coasts around us? Will other states along the Eastern Shore also stand up and declare that our planet and our health is just not worth the risks? Further, what can we do to transition away from these fossil fuels and how can that transition benefit us right here in Delaware?
Delaware is a prime location for that transition to benefit its citizens. Since we have so much coastline, we are a prime spot for several alternative energy industries, all of which will produce employment opportunities. Several years ago, Delaware was poised to be one of the major East Coast producers of energy from offshore wind. Sadly, it didn’t happen, due to survey issues and a stall on the project from a fall in finances needed to complete the project. Just recently, however, two companies have bought out the lease to the area previously claimed by Bluewater off the coast of Delaware, and plan to start building wind turbines relatively soon. There is still communication taking place between legislators and state officials and the companies in question, as to which state will benefit the most. Delaware will certainly not benefit as much in this deal as it would have with Bluewater’s original deal. However, if we start exploratory drilling off the coast, this could disrupt the safety of these types of deals in the future, and further place our area in the grips of the fossil fuel industry.
Another way in which our state could benefit is from advancements in solar technology. We have acres of unused land that could be dedicated to solar farms, and thousands of dollars in untapped resources via federal and state grants to expand the use of solar panels on established businesses. The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in today’s economy, and Delaware “missing out” on hundreds–maybe thousands–of jobs in the solar field which are going to MD & NJ. Mostly due to the fact that their policies better support and incentivize solar production, implementation and competition when compared to ours. If we give subsidies and grants to any industry, it should be one that is an industry of the future and that will benefit as many citizens of our state as possible, not big corporations already taking in record profits. Giving grants and tax breaks to alternative/renewable energy companies (real ones, not Bloom Energy) would benefit all Delawareans by creating jobs, expanding our Renewable Energy Portfolio, and improving our local and global environment. Governor Carney should go one step further than stating that he will not support offshore drilling projects. He should push the state further in divesting in fossil fuel subsidizing and investments, and move that money into grants and funding for truly renewable energy projects.
Carney’s Full Statement and Letter:
I sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stating that I oppose drilling for oil and gas in federal waters…
Written by: Dustyn Thompson
With editing by: Eric Morrison
With input and coordination of the Delaware United Steering Committee