Public to Voice Bipartisan Opposition to Oil Drilling Plan at Two Dozen Local Hearings

January 16 2018

Given the tidal wave of bipartisan opposition that it has triggered since its unveiling earlier this month, the Trump administration’s controversial plan to expose nearly all U.S. coastal waters to the risk of oil spills will attract vocal national and local criticism when listening sessions kick off this week in Annapolis, MD (January 16), Richmond, VA (January 17) and Dover, DE (January 18).  (See the full schedule below.)

Alaska Wilderness League, Earthjustice, Environment America, The League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Sierra Club, and The Surfrider Foundation issued this joint statement today as the process gets underway:

“The Trump administration’s embattled offshore oil drilling plan that exposes our public oceans to oil spills has unified the public in strong opposition that cuts across party lines.

The administration’s recent announcement that it is removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms as its “coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” is a major concession:  Trump officials are acknowledging that offshore drilling poses a serious danger to the economies and environments of all coastal states.

It doesn’t make sense to say the danger of oil spills and pollution are a danger in one state, and not in the rest of the nation.

Drilling threatens to coat our beaches with oil spills, pollute our air, decimate fisheries, interfere with military training, damage marine life, and deteriorate coastal economies. There is no need to force any coastal resident to shoulder these risks.   

The Trump administration’s attempt to sell our publicly owned oceans to the oil and gas industry ignores the current industries that generate more than $114 billion in GDP and 2.28 million jobs nationwide, in addition to 70% of the oxygen we breathe that derives from the ocean.

These waters belong to us all, and it is our responsibility to protect our ocean and planet for future generations. That is why coastal communities, businesses, and citizens from across the nation are standing together to oppose drilling. This isn’t just about one state, it’s about protecting every coastline in the U.S.”

The proposed drilling plan unveiled recently by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would drastically expand offshore drilling in new areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico – including the Eastern Gulf, and Alaska waters, and auction off permanently protected areas. 

Specifically, the proposal would expose the Alaska waters--our last undeveloped ocean—to drilling, put the Atlantic coast on the chopping block, expose the Pacific coast--which has not seen federal drilling for decades - and further threaten the Gulf of Mexico.

With the backing of science, economics, clean energy leaders, local businesses, and the vast majority of Americans, the Obama administration permanently protected most of the Arctic Ocean and a chain of deep sea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from the Chesapeake Bay to Canada’s border, from dangerous and destructive offshore oil drilling. The entire Arctic and Atlantic was also removed from the five-year leasing plan.

Americans have rejected the Trump administration’s move to expand dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and energy exploration. That opposition includes tens of thousands of local businesses and hundreds of thousands of commercial fishing families that depend on clean coasts, the majority of Americans, over 150 coastal municipalities, many Alaska Natives, bipartisan lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels, and a host of faith and conservation leaders.

For an earlier statement from 64 groups opposing the plan, go to: http://bit.ly/5YearPlanReax

Listening session schedule:

Annapolis, MD - January 16, 2018

Jackson, MS - January 16, 2018

Richmond, VA - January 17, 2018  

Dover, DE - January 18, 2018  

Augusta, ME - January 22, 2018  

Baton Rouge, LA - January 22, 2018  

Anchorage, AK - January 23, 2018  

Concord, NH - January 23, 2018

Boston, MA -  January 24, 2018  

Montgomery, AL - January 24, 2018  

Providence, RI - January 25, 2018  

Tacoma, WA - February 5, 2018  

Austin, TX - February 6, 2018  

Salem, OR - February 6, 2018  

Tallahassee, FL - February 8, 2018   

Sacramento, CA - February 8, 2018  

Hartford, CT - February 13, 2018  

Columbia, SC - February 13, 2018  

Trenton, NJ - February 14, 2018  

Albany, NY - February 15, 2018  

Washington, DC - February 22, 2018  

Raleigh, NC - February 26, 2018  

Atlanta, GA -  February 28, 2018  

 

# # #

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 500,000 supporters, activists and members, with more than 80 volunteer-led chapters and 70 clubs in the U.S., and more than 400 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Alaska Wilderness League was founded in 1993 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to further the protection of amazing public lands and waters in Alaska. The League is the only Washington, DC-based environmental group devoted full-time to protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other wilderness-quality lands in Alaska. For more information, visit: http://www.alaskawild.org.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Environment America is a federation of state-based citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. We fight to protect the places you love and advance the environmental values we share. Visit us at www.environmentamerica.org.

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With over 100 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. To learn more about Oceana’s work in the United States, please visit usa.oceana.org.

The League of Conservation Voters works to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities. LCV, in collaboration with our state LCV partners, advocates for sound environmental laws and policies, holds elected officials accountable for their votes and actions, and elects pro-environment candidates who will champion our priority issues. Visit us at www.lcv.org, and follow us on Twitter @LCVoters.