This statement was released May 5, 2010
In light of the tragic disaster that is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, we urge the suspension of plans to expand offshore oil drilling. What is occurring now is a slow motion disaster that has already claimed the lives of 11 people. As it spreads in the gulf, it is destroying livelihoods, local economies, and impeding the region’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina as it devastates the fragile ecosystem on which they depend. We are facing a crisis of unknown proportions.
This disaster demonstrates beyond a doubt that oil drilling is still dangerous to our communities, our coastlines, and our ecosystems. Worst case scenarios involving devastation of this magnitude have no part in a sound, moral energy policy.
As people of faith praying and working for change in the way Americans get and use energy, we see this catastrophic accident as a stark message that we must rethink our energy strategy and move to safer, cleaner alternatives. An energy policy that involves such cost to human health and safety and devastation of God’s creation represents a profound moral failure.
Fortunately, clean alternatives exist. Our congregations around the country are putting many clean energy solutions into practice – from energy conservation to solar panels on church rooftops. There has never been a “solar spill.” As a nation, we must now invest in energy efficiency and renewable power. Passing strong climate legislation that caps carbon pollution will clear the way for clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels.
As people of faith, we are called to be stewards of God’s creation and of each other. We have a moral responsibility to build a clean energy future for children. We must take a serious look at how we allowed this tragedy – one of the largest environmental disasters in our nation’s history – to occur. As we do that, it is essential that we suspend any plans for new offshore drilling and find cleaner, safer ways of using energy.