WASHINGTON – Oceana issued the following statement from Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer:
“The abundance of our oceans can be a key to helping us build back better, if we can end the expansion of offshore drilling and restore fishery abundance. Most of our coasts are still slated for offshore oil drilling in President Trump’s current proposal, but we will rely on President-elect Joe Biden to quickly and permanently protect our coasts.
Four years of deregulation and attacks have left our bedrock environmental laws bruised and battered. Laws that protect marine mammals and endangered species, and protections for critical marine habitat have been wantonly undermined by President Trump.
As President-elect Biden says, we can build back better, and the abundance and biodiversity of our oceans are essential in the journey toward a healthier world. The oceans are not just a resource we must protect, they are also a vital tool in healing our planet from the decades of damage we have caused. They are our life support system, and a source of food, that can provide 1 billion people a healthy seafood meal every day if we can manage our fisheries sustainably. Those are meals that do not require land or fresh water for grazing and feeding. Meals that contribute far less carbon dioxide than other protein sources, and meals that can help us stave off heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
By expanding on the transparency in our seafood supply chain, President-elect Biden can give managers the tools they need to restore the abundance of our fisheries so that people may benefit from healthy seafood.
The oceans are also a major part of the solution to climate change. By absorbing about a third of the carbon dioxide we emit they have done us a great service. But that carbon dioxide is making our oceans sick. It is melting sea ice and driving sea level rise and ocean acidification. It is causing warming waters, weather hazards and shifting species ranges that will lead to ecological havoc.
By rejoining the Paris Agreement and moving away from fossil fuels toward a green energy future, including offshore wind, the Biden-Harris administration can help save the ocean, and us, from the looming climate disaster. By permanently protecting U.S. waters from new offshore oil and gas drilling, the administration can not only help slow the climate crisis, but also protect coastal communities from the threat of spills and the blight of sprawling oil infrastructure.
With these measures, we can build back the bounty of our oceans. Our planet can heal. We can make it better. We can achieve all of that if we protect our oceans.
We look forward to working with President-elect Biden, and Vice President-elect Harris, to establish a proactive, sensible, science-based approach to restoring and managing our incredibly rich marine resources and our deeply generous oceans.”
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