Petroleum Association Should Support Offshore Drilling Ban and Sustainable Energy

An Open Letter to Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President, Western States Petroleum Association, and Member, Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Forces

Dear Catherine Reheis-Boyd,

I’m writing in hopes that you will help change the course of American history by leading the petroleum industry to phase out offshore oil and gas drilling, and to invest massively in sustainable energy sources.

Today we have the technical ability to convert our energy system to sustainable sources, offering opportunity for endless profit to corporations which invest now in these sources. For example, solar thermal power plants, using mirrors in deserts to heat fluids and run turbine generators, could supply all of America’s energy needs forever with minimal environmental impact. Corporations investing now in solar thermal power plants may well dominate the energy supply in the twenty-first century and beyond.

If you continue in your push for more offshore oil and gas drilling off the West Coast, you risk leading the corporations you represent to the catastrophic fate of the British Petroleum Corporation, which may have nothing left to invest in anything after the tragic consequences of the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico have fully unfolded.

The petroleum industry now holds the fate of our nation in its hands. With your support, we surely can move this year to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling off the West Coast, by enacting the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, recently introduced in the U.S. Congress. If the petroleum industry becomes the “sustainable energy industry” by making a rational analysis of future profit potential and joining President Obama in a determined effort to transform the nation’s energy system to rely on sustainable sources, our society can launch a massive, job-creating transition to sustainable energy while we still have the “petroleum subsidy” we need to power this transition.

The financial and political power of the petroleum industry is so great that without your support we are unlikely to be able to ban offshore oil and gas drilling, nor to make a graceful transition to sustainable energy, without a long, expensive, suicidal struggle pitting ourselves against ourselves.

Please share these thoughts with your colleagues in the petroleum industry. The whole nation will love you if you lead the transition to sustainable energy.

–John Lewallen, Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company