Friday, May 20, 2011

Open Letter to Congressman Hurt: Open Water Drilling in VA

Dear Congressman Hurt,
I am a teacher at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville Virginia and grew up in Virginia Beach, VA. I spent the majority of my childhood fishing, swimming, surfing, in the ocean. Even as a child I knew about the ship yards in Norfolk and the pollution that was being continually created. I have this vivid memory when I was 7 of waiting for the Ferry to go from Waterside to Portsmouth (near the shipyards) and seeing jellyfish swimming in the dark blackish water with pools of rainbow colored patches visible on top of the water. I certainly did not want to swim in that water near waterside. I certainly would not enjoy swimming near New Orleans or the gulf coast of FL due the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill and the risks of swimming in petroleum imbued water. I think drilling off of the coast of VA would open itself to another disaster like the Gulf Oil Spill. The first issue to recognize is that Virginia and North Carolina are hot spots for Hurricanes. These oil-rig platforms are floating structures and very unstable. Turbulent weather can lead to ensuing oil spills and further economic disaster. Virginia and Carolina coastal economies are strongly based on tourism and fishing. Any damage or spills (which are inevitable) will damage the local economy as we have seen in the gulf. Secondly drilling off the coast could pose greater risks to the National Wildlife Refuges off the coast of Virginia and NC. My mother lives next to Backbay Wildlife Refuge. This is the last bastion of untouched coastal nature with rare endangered bird species. These spaces are becoming smaller and more infringed upon with farm run off, litter, and our currently polluted bay waters. Drilling off Virginia’s coast will definitely disrupt these natural habitats. The third issue is the short sightedness of drilling off of the east coast.  The amount of oil in these locations is finite and limited. The amount of money that local economies and car drivers will benefit from this drilling is minimal. The environmental damage from searching, drilling, and from the ensuing oil spills would far outweigh the benefits and would be devastating not only to local fishing and tourist economies, but our environment and the species that make this planet a place to live.  You must remember we cannot live without food (animals and plants) and clean water.  The more we violate these natural spaces the less clean food and water for us.  In your speech to congress you said “we need to help our local economies”.  Not drilling would help our local economies in Virginia.  Another consideration is not supporting and continuing our dependence on 140 year old technology. I think as 21st century humans, we can supersede a gas powered combustion engine. It is time to change. It is time to find a cleaner, safer, and more technologically savvy ways to travel and transport goods. We should be learning from recent natural disasters of our time involving oceans like Katrina, the tsunami in Japan, and the tsunami in Indonesia. This is a sign that nature is much more powerful than humans. It is time to be cautious and change. I urge you Congressman Hurt to change your position on relieving the Drilling Moratorium as the risks of drilling outweigh the benefits. I am sure you will not read this and I will get a form letter back, but thank you for your time and consideration.
Jeremy Taylor


Jessi said...
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Jessi said...

These are great arguments and I wish VA the best of luck with the fight against offshore drilling. I am from Tallahassee, FL and saw the spill's effects first hand. It was miserable, as you both could imagine. It would be tragic for this to happen again, and I am appreciative of your efforts! I am in the BFA program at Florida State, and a huge fan of art work from both of you! Here is my blog, if you all would like to look at my art as well.