No to offshore oil drilling

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 8:15pm

It isn’t often that national issues impose themselves onto our community, but the recently announced plan to open up the North Atlantic, including waters off Rhode Island, to oil and natural gas drilling seems like an ill-advised idea. 

We understand that such a proposal would meet the primary goal of the current administration, which is to create jobs, as well as fulfill the broader national energy policy goal of increasing our energy-independent.

But poking more holes into the surface of the planet doesn’t seem to be the answer. On Block Island, we have seen immediate and real results in lower energy consumption through the use of solar panels and LED lighting — not to mention the Wind Farm . The Island Free Library has realized dramatically lower bills, and the Block Island School expects to reap immediate rewards now that its solar array is online. (This comes at a time when the Trump Administration has placed unusually high tariffs on solar energy panels.)

The drilling plan is universally opposed by governors of both parties, save for Gov. LePage of Maine. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has spoken to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to let him know of her opposition. That effort alone probably won’t have much influence in the White House, but we applaud our elected representatives doing what they can. 

If people of all political stripes express their displeasure toward this plan — which is bad for the environment and does not address the need for more long-term alternative energy solutions — we could have an impact. 

There are other, better ways to create more jobs and improve the economy while also balancing the needs of our environment and quality of life.