Written to promote oil and gas drilling on public lands and offshore, H.R. 4239, the “SECURE American Energy Act,” represents a grave threat to marine mammals and birds. H.R. 4239 could be voted upon at any time by the US House of Representatives, and your representative needs to hear from you!
Section 110 of this bill would remove essential elements of the MMPA that limit harm to marine mammals from human activities, thus exposing hundreds of thousands, even millions, of marine mammals to serious risk. Furthermore, Section 110 creates an accelerated and rigid timeline for government scientists to review exploration and drilling permits, which does not allow sufficient time for properly assessing the likely effects of the activity on marine mammals.
Other language transfers permitting authority from the Department of Commerce to the Department of the Interior, which lacks the experience and expertise to monitor threats to most marine mammals and has been overzealous in accommodating the oil and gas industry regardless of the implications to the ocean environment.
H.R. 4239 is also bad news for birds. It eviscerates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the nation’s strongest bird conservation law, by absolving oil companies and other industries of any fault should bird deaths result from activities such as oil spills. In the recent past, such spills have caused the deaths of thousands of birds and other wildlife, as well as severe habitat damage.
Your representative needs to hear that you value marine mammals and birds and that Congress should do more to protect them and their habitat. Please ask your representative to oppose bringing H.R. 4239, the “SECURE American Energy Act,” forward for a vote.
Be sure to share our Dear Humanitarian alert with family, friends, and co-workers and encourage them to speak up, too. Thank you for taking action on behalf of marine mammals!