Protect U.S Coasts from New Offshore Drilling

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Ocean Protection

Stop new offshore drilling and related seismic exploration for oil and gas off U.S. coastlines.

Surfrider's Not the Answer campaign is focused on opposing the expansion of offshore drilling in the United States. Surfrider chapters across the country are advocating for legislation and agency decisions that will prohibit the exploration, development, or production of oil and gas in state and federal waters. Despite the federal government's recent decision to exclude the Atlantic coast from the 2017 - 2022 OCS Offshore Drilling Plan, our coastlines are still being threatened by new oil and gas development. Accordingly, priorities of our Not the Answer campaign include: 1) Opposing federal legislation that would expand offshore drilling into new areas; 2) Opposing proposed seismic exploration for oil and gas resources off the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts; 3) Supporting state and federal moratoria on offshore oil and gas development; 4) Participating in Hands Across the Sand events to demonstrate grassroots support for protecting our coasts from offshore drilling. (Photo Credit: Angie Gustavson: Volusia-Flagler Chapter)

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For decades our coasts were protected from offshore oil drilling.  Unfortunately, circumstances changed in 2008 when President Bush lifted a White House moratorium on offshore drilling.  Congress later followed suit by allowing a federal ban on drilling to expire.  Now, decision makers at the state and federal levels are examining ways to capitalize on the lifted moratoria and erect new platforms along our coastlines. 

The Surfrider Foundation is opposed to offshore oil drilling in new areas. Our nation’s oceans, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological treasures that will be polluted by an expansion in offshore oil drilling. Instead of advocating for transient and environmentally harmful ways to meet America’s oil needs, we should seek a comprehensive and environmentally sustainable energy plan that includes energy conservation.

Offshore oil drilling and oil spills have the potential to critically impact pristine marine ecosystems and lead to industrialization of our coastlines. While there are numerous environmental problems associated with oil drilling, there are also negative economic impacts that we simply cannot afford during hard economic times.  This fact sheet is intended to outline potential impacts of offshore oil drilling, and also to dispel myths that have been put forth by oil drilling proponents.

Ultimately, America cannot drill our way out of an oil consumption problem. We must look toward sustainable solutions that protect our natural resources, rather than drilling for fossil fuels off our coasts.   It is in the best interest of our environment and economy to wean America off oil, and develop a sustainable “energy portfolio” that includes renewable sources and conservation.

Energy conservation is the most economical and environmental way to achieve energy independence from fossil fuels.   Riding mass transit, increasing auto efficiency, improving building insulation, and better management of electrical use in homes/businesses, are just a few ways we can reduce our oil and energy consumption. Conservation is much cheaper and healthier than investing in further development of offshore oil reserves.

It’s imperative that America shifts away from an old mindset of relying on fossil fuels. Climate change, and other environmental problems are not waiting for us to ‘rebuild our energy portfolio’. Oil drilling and continued use of fossil fuels will only exacerbate climate change, and keep us trapped in a ‘backwards frame of mind’ which overlooks sustainable energy and conservation.  The answers for sustainable energy are already in front of us—and offshore drilling is not part of the answer.

Ocean Protection

The Surfrider Foundation works to protect our ocean and address the dangers to it, today and in the future. Our Ocean Protection Initiative includes grassroots campaigns to establish and support Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), oppose new offshore oil drilling and seismic testing, participate in regional ocean planning, and ensure renewable ocean energy does not damage our ocean.

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