Currents | Conservation Law Foundation

Currents

Sean Cosgrove

Increased wind speed late yesterday started putting oil on Gulf Coast beaches about 10:00pm last night. Our colleagues at the Gulf Restoration Network are working hard to deal with the oil onslaught. The federal government is stepping up their response and making sure we all know they are. White House political chief David Axelrod announced this morning that they are putting off any new drilling until the administration conducts an “adequate review.” Let’s hope that means at least an immediate moratorium for the Atlantic coast and the Arctic, where drilling could go forward this summer. (Could you imagine a similar spill scenario that occurs under Arctic sheet ice? With no oil booms, skimmer boats, 100-ton steel caps or airplanes dumping “dispersants” in sight?) Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has already announced he will introduce legislation to ban drilling off the coast of Florida, and Senate Dems are becoming more vocal against the starkly illustrated threats of drilling. It seems like the political currents might be shifting.

Ocean currents are themselves fascinating forces of nature. The currents and internal waves in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank are what help to make New England’s ocean so incredibly productive. The currents are corridors of life for all ocean wildlife from migrating whales to free-floating larvae. They also connect the kelp on the coasts to the deepwater corals in far offshore canyons. CLF has fought hard in the past and again in recent years to make sure Georges Bank was protected from oil drilling, but really Georges Bank is just as threatened by oil drilling that occurs off the coast of Maryland, not to mention across the Canadian border.  So, when you are looking south to the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico don’t forget to look to the north to see what our Canadian neighbors are proposing.

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