Jacksonville, Fla.-- As threats mount against our oceans and coasts, whales Wanda and Wally, two 5 foot blow up whales visited Jacksonville. Like many endangered marine species, whales rely on us to protect them from oil and gas exploration, drilling and other threats. As the Trump administration begins the process of lifting the protections that prevent drilling off of the Atlantic Coast, Environment Florida, Ryan Bass from U.S. Congressman John Rutherford’s office, Oceana, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Public Trust Law, Sierra Club and others reminded Floridians of the value of our coastline and the need to stand up for our shores and marine life.
“Offshore drilling and seismic testing pose incredible risks for our ocean ecosystems and coastal communities,” said Jenna Stevens, campaign organizer with Environment Florida. “We saw the destruction that happened after the BP oil spill -- whales, dolphins, birds and other marine life died and communities were devastated. We can’t let this reckless drilling happen again so we will do all we can to stop the Trump Administration in its tracks.”
The ocean also plays an important role in Jacksonville Beach’s quality of life.
“Jacksonville’s beaches and shoreline are the economic driver of our community,” said Erin Handy, Jacksonville Beach resident and Florida campaigner for Oceana. “We need to do everything we can to protect this dynamic natural resource including preventing the Trump administration from endangering our community and our identity as a coastal city.”
“Disaster after disaster has shown that the oil and gas industry cannot be trusted,” said Tom Larson, conservation co-chair of Sierra Club Florida. “The coastal communities of Florida and neighboring states should not be asked to pay the price for this administration’s reckless plans to give license to polluters to ruin our coasts and public waters.”
Stevens said Floridians can take action to protect our coast and whales like Wanda and Wally, along with their real life counterparts.
“To put our ecosystem and our community at risk for oil and gas drilling is short-sighted,” Stevens said. “We need to do more to protect our oceans for our own enjoyment and for future generations. We’re calling on all our elected officials to stand with us to save our shores.”
Environment Florida is a citizen-based, non-profit, environmental advocacy organization that promotes clean air, clean water, and open space protection. The organization is the state affiliate of Environment America. For more information, visit www.EnvironmentFlorida.org