Across the eastern seaboard of the United States, from South Carolina to Maine, there is an intense and well-ordered preparation underway to brace against and limit the fallout from Hurricane Irene. In North Carolina, 300,000 people have been ordered to evacuate the Outer Banks and low-lying coastal areas. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has ordered the first ever mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas in all five boroughs.
New York City evacuations are underway—the first mandatory evacuation in the city’s history. This afternoon, mass transit will be entirely shut down. 370,000 New Yorkers are in the evacuation zone. With a substantial amount of the city expected to be subject to severe flooding if the storm makes a direct hit, the Bloomberg administration is taking care to do everything that was not done in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina’s arrival in New Orleans.
The governor of the state of New Jersey, in line with the mood of the people of his state, has vowed he would never allow offshore drilling to commence off the coast of New Jersey. But the House of Representatives has just passed the Restarting Offshore Leasing Now Act (ROLNA?), which will impose on the people of New Jersey, against their wishes and the wishes of their government, the burden of risky offshore drilling.
Not one new environmental protection has been passed to curb the abuses or limit the dangers inherent in the kind of offshore drilling BP was engaged in when the Macondo well blow-out happened last April. No new technology has been developed that would better prevent such an event or contain such a spill. No major industry player has developed a response plan that would protect the local environment.
“In addition, we must also streamline the bureaucratic process. For example, it took nine years of regulatory review for the first offshore wind project to be approved by various federal agencies. These excessive delays all but ensure our efforts to prevent the next energy crisis will fail. For New Jersey, a streamlined review process could move forward the six proposed projects, including those off Atlantic and Cape May Counties. According to a report by Governor Christie’s administration and environmental groups, there is enough commercially-viable wind power potential off our coast to generate electricity for all 3 million homes in the state.”
—Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), March 15, 2011