The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Offshore fossil-fuel reserves must remain unexplored

A North Atlantic right whale appears at the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass.
A North Atlantic right whale appears at the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
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Thank you for the Dec. 7 editorial “Our widening carbon footprint,” stating, “The world is heading in the wrong direction.” The same day, a letter from Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute promoted its version of “a safe and responsible first step” that advocated East Coast offshore drilling. I can put aside Mr. Milito’s disturbing insensitivity to the potential impact on sea creatures from seismic testing. I cannot ignore what I find alarming: Mr. Milito’s justification for seismic mapping to determine the extent and location of natural gas and oil in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. In a muddle of words, he asserted as “the facts” that there is a “crucial” connection between offshore natural gas and oil extraction and our “energy and economic reality and future.” Nothing could be further from the truth. As recent scientific reports and The Post’s editorial make clear, the facts about our fossil-fuel dependence show it is driving climate change and acidification of the oceans.

Clearly, offshore fossil-fuel reserves that may reside in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf must remain unexplored and undisturbed if we are committed to a future that remains secure.

Ross Shearer, Vienna

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