Opinion – Sen. Euer: Sustainable future demands offshore wind, not ocean oil drilling

April 20 marked 12 years since the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The disaster released over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico making it the largest marine oil spill in history. Its legacy includes more than $ 500 million in losses to the recreation industry, $ 1 billion in losses to the seafood industry, and a 4-8% decrease in the regional housing market. For years after, the spill continued to affect marine wildlife in the region.

While this tragedy was monumental in its size and devastation, oil spills are not rare events. They are continuously happening across the country. While separated by invisible jurisdictional lines, we all share one ocean, so an oil spill anywhere is an oil spill everywhere. That’s why, as the Ocean State, we must do everything we can to protect our coasts, wildlife, and economy.

The federal government has demonstrated a renewed commitment to climate change, science, and equity, however, it has also continued to auction off acres of the US coast for drilling without considering the greenhouse gas emissions that could result. In the face of uncertainty, states are leading the way, not just in banning and restricting offshore drilling, but in transitioning our energy towards clean renewable energy.

In 2019, I stood with legislators from eight other states working on coordinated action to ban offshore drilling. Since then, these states have banned or restricted drilling.

As we continue to move away from offshore drilling, we must look toward the promises of offshore wind. The transition to clean renewable energy is essential in our fight against climate change. Offshore wind offers us an incredible opportunity to do that.

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