(heavily modified version of a Greenpeace-suggested letter to Obama)
The last week has been one of energy future ironies. First, you take great steps to build our renewable energy future with wind power off the East Coast. Then almost immediately allow offshore drilling to go forward.
Offshore oil drilling and other fossil fuel development at this time is not safe. Even Secretary Salazar admitted as much in announcing the end to the moratorium. We don't even know the long-term effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and you are allowing for business as usual for big oil to drill, drill, drill. And I do not have confidence in the ability of today's regulatory bureaucracy, regardless of the kind of housecleaning you may or may not have achieved there, to successfully regulate the industry. It's inevitable, the way that the regulatory body and the industry are structured, that greed will win, and the environment will lose. If the industry were regulated in such a way as to ensure the safety of the drilling, it might be different... for a while, until complacency takes over again. But we are still blithely sucking on a milkshake that is going to run dry eventually, we are not prepared for the day that it WILL run out, and you are not helping.
I appreciate that you may be thinking, it's better to drill American soil and waters than to keep importing oil from terrorists. But you also know that there are other alternatives - lots of them, in fact. I personally don't give a hoot if gas gets up to $10 per gallon in the next few years; that would simply teach people to reduce their driving to the bare minimum, and would save plenty of lives too, as people make the switch to safer means of transportation. It might even result in less of the food supply being dependent on oil: more organic and more locally grown.
Please, focus on alternative energy. It is what this country needs most of all at this point. During your campaign you spoke of every dollar of government investment being able to pay dividends several times over, if it is invested wisely, doing several dollars' worth of good. Investing in alternative energy will be like that, I'm sure, even if the payback is not this year or next year. I want to see electric charging stations, wind power, solar panels on every roof capable of benefitting from them, locally-grown switchgrass being burned instead of oil or coal in any case where we still need a combustible fuel, other types of biomass technology, maybe even a few nuclear plants. We are not seeing those things because industry will always take the easy way out, and the environment is an "externality" to them. It's up to the people collectively to move us forward into a sustainable future, and consequently it will help greatly if the government that represents us can help to show the way. I'm still more in favor of effective regulation rather than willy-nilly spending, though.
President Obama, it's time to stop letting the fossil fuel industry determine our energy policies. I am writing you to tell you now that you will hear from me again and again until you stop this madness and concretely move us to a greener, cleaner future. You made a bad decision, but I'll be expecting you to ensure it isn't repeated.