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Dominican Sisters Issue Statement Opposing Offshore Drilling

Posted by Gina Ciliberto on Thursday, January 11, 2018



The Dominican Sisters issued the following statement in opposition to President Donald Trump’s expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration.


Statement of Dominican Sisters on Trump Administration’s Expansion of Offshore Drilling

We are alarmed by the Trump Administration’s decision to open federal waters to new offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico. Lifting the ban on new offshore drilling makes no sense as our nation reels from the present impacts of climate change with record-freezing temperatures, unprecedented wildfires, and crippling hurricanes. Governors of coastal states also fear the potential negative impact on tourism, fisheries, and recreation threatened by the specter of oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in 2010 that killed 11 people and devastated the Gulf Coast. This move is all the more alarming as the Trump Administration rolls back oil rig safety regulations put in place after the Deepwater disaster.


As women of faith concerned about the degradation of God’s creation and the future of humanity, we urge elected leaders to oppose this reckless unraveling of environmental protections and take legislative steps to put the nation on the path of a clean, renewables-based economy.


What Effects Does Offshore Drilling Have?

Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting, released a report on the shrinking Louisiana coast on Saturday, January 6th. The interviews with local residents and government officials were eye-opening. Here's the gist:


Land is washing away into the Gulf. 2,000 square miles have disappeared since the 1930's. It's caused by sea level rise, long-term erosion, and oil companies.

When flying above the Louisiana coast, you can see how this area was drilled for oil. You see canals that were dug so that boats can reach oil rigs built out in the marshes. Those canals have eroded and turned to open water. 

 Listen to the full report here, or read NPR's version here.


In short, offshore drilling on the Gulf of Mexico is directly causing the coast of Louisiana to shrink. This, in turn, causes, residents to lose their homes. Knowing this, we can't sit quietly and watch.


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Why Do We Care?

Frighteningly, drilling is often linked to fracking. The oil industry is conducting offshore fracking in the Gulf, which is even more dangerous than conventional oil drilling, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. In 2015 alone, there were nearly six serious pipeline incidents every week. Pipelines built since 2010 fail at three times the rate of pipelines built from 1950-1970. Yet, construction continues. In New York, Spectra’s AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market Expansion) pipeline is being constructed within 110 feet of sensitive materials at Indian Point nuclear power plant, endangering the lives of over 20 million people including the population of New York City. In Canada, fracking has been linked to water contamination.


For too long Earth has been used and abused. That is why Dominican Sister of Hope Bette Ann Jaster, OP has devoted her environmental ministry to advocating against fracking in her Westchester, NY community. 


In Sister Bette Ann's words:


Fossil fuel is a dying energy source. Coal mines have done their dirty work and mountain tops have been removed. Thousands have died or suffered black lung disease in the process. Air has consistently been polluted; millions suffer from asthma as a result. Fracked gas is poisoning water, air and minds against the transition to renewable energy. Bomb trains of oil rumble along old railroad tracks, and over outdated bridges next to the Hudson's west bank. Now we hear that anchorages for barges of oil are proposed along our river. It has been proven that we do not need these fossil fuels. They served their time. Fossil fuel is a heavy polluter, is dangerous, outdated, and unnecessary, like it or not.


Read her full letter to the editor here.


We have the full story on fracking and why it's so dangerous in our free Fracking Advoacy and FAQs guide. 


Download the Guide



Flickr: Michael Elleray

Speak Up

Drilling, fracking, oil, gas: they're all dangerous for both the environment and we humans who live in it. 

As women of faith concerned about the degradation of God’s creation and the future of humanity, we urge elected leaders to oppose this reckless unraveling of environmental protections and take legislative steps to put the nation on the path of a clean, renewables-based economy.


Learn more about what you can do to help.


Topics: fracking, drilling, offshore drilling

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Whether through advocacy or on-the-ground service, we are committed to creating a more just world. Poverty, climate justice, civil rights, and access to healthcare and education are among our top priorities as citizens of Planet Earth. We invite you to read our stories and learn about how we’re working to bring about change through our daily ministries, and how you can join us in spreading hope through justice.

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