A. Schmelz: No support for drilling

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President Barack Obama discussed moving toward a clean energy future in his State of the Union address. But Obama also said he is directing his administration to open more than 75 percent of America’s potential offshore oil and gas resources. These statements are contradictory: offshore oil exploration should not be part of a clean energy future.

April 2010 brought the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill — the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history with 11 people killed and 200 million gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, harming the Gulf’s fragile ecosystem. The devastation did not stop there.

As fishing and tourism economies suffered, individuals lost their jobs and could no longer support their families. The spill cost more than $40 billion to clean, yet oil companies and now, Obama, still want to drill.

The arguments supporting drilling are not substantiated. If the U.S. achieved full production of its oil wells by 2030, the price of gas would be lowered by only three cents per gallon. Drilling supporters claim it will create jobs; studies have shown that clean energy produces three times the jobs on average than the same investment in the oil industry.

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Much of Maine’s economy revolves around its ports, beaches and wildlife. If offshore drilling were proposed and explored off the coast of Maine, these resources would be threatened.

In place of drilling, state officials should look into offshore wind. Wind energy is infinite, renewable and sustainable, and will create jobs without threatening our coasts.

Anabel Schmelz, Lewiston

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