Ocean Protection, Plastic Pollution, Updates, Beach Act, Not the answer, Water Quality
February 17 2016

Coastal Recreation Hill Day Rocks Washington D.C.

by Pete Stauffer

What happens when the country’s most powerful grassroots network of coastal advocates descends upon our nation’s capitol? The answer: Surfrider’s Coastal Recreation Lobby Day!

On February 11-12th, dozens of Surfrider members and recreation industry leaders traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with our nation’s leaders about ways to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches. Participants visited over 50 Senate and House offices to advocate for Surfrider’s federal priorities.

Key topics of discussion included: protecting the Atlantic from offshore drilling; funding beach water testing programs; advancing the National Ocean Policy; and reducing plastic pollution in the ocean.

The event was the capstone for the Sign the Surfboard project to spotlight recreation industry opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Sporting hundreds of signatures from coastal businesses gathered during its journey from Miami, FL to D.C., the surfboard was, without question, the star of the show. In total, 12 members of Congress added their signatures to the board before it was presented to the White House and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Surfrider’s D.C. Chapter served as host for the lobby event, gratiously housing visiting chapters and sponsoring an evening celebration on Friday night. The D.C. Chapter also partnered with the Patagonia Georgetown store to organize a great event for the final signing of the surfboard.

On Tuesday, February 16th, a group Surfrider members and industry leaders visited the White House and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to hand deliver the surfboard and letters signed by over a thousand businesses opposed to offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The delegation made a strong case for protecting our coastal communities, economies, and way of life from the impacts and risks of oil drilling.

The meetings with the Obama Administration also focused on support for the National Ocean Policy and regional ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Surfrider represents coastal recreational users in the process and is advocating for strong plans that will protect the marine ecoystem and recreation opportunites. We were pleased to hear the administration is committed to completing these efforts in 2016. For more background, please check out our video: The Next Wave.

Special thanks to Environment America, Waterkeeper Alliance, Don’t Drill Lowcountry, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, and other partners who gathered business signatues in opposition to offshore drilling.

We’re very grateful to the many volunteers and partners who participated in Surfrider’s first Coastal Recreation Lobby Day. No word yet on when President Obama plans to paddle out on the surfboard but we’ll keep you posted!