This Earth Day I propose enjoying some outdoor fun and writing a letter to a government official about an environmental issue that is important to you.
My Earth Day plans include participating in a field trip with the California Native Plant Society and writing a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, which I already did (see below).
Earth Day 1970
In 1969, Gaylord Nelson was a U.S. Senator representing his home state of Wisconsin. He had long been concerned about the environmental deterioration occurring in the United States because private companies were being allowed to exploit public resources polluting and degrading air, water, and land with impunity. He had been trying to get the American public to make a national issue out of the environment with little success.
Reading an article about the anti-Vietnam War teach-ins taking place at colleges across the country gave him an idea. Nelson decided to try the same method to start a grassroots environmental movement. He formed a nonprofit organization and asked a Harvard graduate student named Denis Hayes to organize the first Environmental Teach-In.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets demanding that the government take action to clean up the environment and stop industries from using the air, water, and land as free places to dump toxic waste.
Earth Day 2018
Now, in 2018, Americans are facing a new assault on the environment and the laws that Congress put in place to protect us from being taken advantage of and poisoned by private industries and public agencies.
I believe that I have a responsibility to speak up. You can choose to do so, too. We can tell our supposedly democratic government founded to serve “We the People,” that we strongly oppose the dismantling of environmental protections and regulations and the destruction of our public lands. We can stand up and say it is not acceptable that our own government is endangering and harming the people we love.
Writing a letter is one way you can exercise your right to Freedom of Speech.
Below is my letter to Secretary Zinke regarding the unprecedented and dangerous expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration and development he is overseeing as the Secretary of the Interior. I will add any response I receive to the end of this post.
If you are interested in learning more about the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program that I discuss in my letter, you will find links in the resources section below.
I hope you will join me in writing a letter yourself.
April 12, 2018
The Honorable Ryan Zinke
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240
Re: Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and Development
Dear Mr. Secretary,
Overseeing a department with 70,000 employees who manage one-fifth of the land in the United States, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.7 billion acres of the outer continental shelf is a heavy responsibility. You have the power to affect the wellbeing of over 327,000,000 Americans now and in the future.
I am writing to you as a mother, an American citizen, and a resident of the California Central Coast to express my strong opposition to the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (DPP).
The United States needs to get off fossil fuels not embark upon an unprecedented expansion of oil and natural gas exploration and production along almost the entire coastline of the country.
As the DPP states, outer continental shelf oil and gas development is a long-term endeavor fraught with technical issues and environmental risks. It mentions but does not address global warming or catastrophic oil spills. “Production from exploration and development in newly available OCS areas will likely not occur for a decade or more, and then will continue for another 30 to 40 years or longer” (p. 1).
Offshore oil and gas operations require substantial infrastructure both offshore and onshore including drilling platforms, pipelines, transfer stations, storage tanks, and processing facilities. Once fossil fuel companies invest billions of dollars into building this infrastructure they will likely continue producing oil and gas for decades.
Locking the United States into 50 years of expanded oil and gas production will not generate energy security or economic vitality for the American people. Global warming is not some distant amorphous threat it is already happening. The continued burning of fossil fuels is endangering all Americans and people all over the world.
To make America great again, we need to stop looking back and move forward. The time of fossil fuels is over. Clean renewable energy is the future that we need to invest in, right now. I urge you to use your authority to curtail fossil fuel development and encourage deployment of clean renewable energy on public lands (submerged or not).
In 20 years, what do you want to say to your children and grandchildren? “I am proud I was instrumental in opening up the entire United States coastline to oil and gas exploration.” or “I am proud that I did everything in my power to move the country towards clean renewable energy to keep Earth habitable for you and your children.”
Linda Anne Poppenheimer
Featured Image at Top: Three Wind Turbines at Sunset off the Irish Coast – Photo Credit Shutterstock/Peter Cripps
- 5 Ways to Go Green on Earth Day 2014
- 10 Ways to Go Green for Earth Day 2013
- Breast Cancer Awareness – Mr. Pruitt Do Your Job
- Earth Day 2017 – Mr. President, Go Green
- Earth Day 2014 – Mr. President, Go Green
- Earth Day 2013 – Mr. President, Go Green
- ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth – Book Review
- First Earth Day and Earth Day History
- Make Your Voice Heard on Regulations.gov
- Trump Administration is Threatening Our National Monuments
- 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Department of the Interior
- 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, January 2018
- Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, United States Code, Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives
- Executive Order 13795—Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy by President Donald Trump, 04/28/17, The American Presidency Project
- Executive Order 3350 America-First Offshore Energy Strategy by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, 05/01/17, U.S. Department of the Interior
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce