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05 • 19 • 2021

Congress Debates Bills to Prohibit Offshore Drilling: Make Your Voice Heard!

By Pete Stauffer

Members of Congress have introduced legislation to permanently protect U.S. coasts from new offshore oil and gas drilling. Please take action to make your voice heard!

For decades, Surfrider has been fighting to protect U.S. coastlines from oil and gas development. This includes our recent successful campaign to stop the last administration from opening over 90% of U.S. waters to offshore drilling. Yet, while the Biden administration has signaled a very different position on offshore drilling, we must heed the prophetic words of environmentalist David Brower who famously said, “All of our victories are temporary, and all of our defeats are permanent.”

In recognition that U.S. waters remain vulnerable to future offshore drilling, Congressional leaders have introduced a package of bills that would permanently prohibit oil and gas development in the Atlantic, Pacific, Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Arctic Ocean. On May 13th, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, hosted a legislative hearing titled Protecting Coastal Communities and Ocean Resources from Offshore Drilling, to review and discuss this legislation. The Subcommittee also heard expert testimony from witnesses, including Dr. Cliff Kapono, a professional surfer, chemist and Surfrider board member (view at 1:12:42 below).

Offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous practice that puts our marine environment and coastal communities at unnecessary risk. The industry causes grave impacts through every phase of the process - from exploratory seismic blasting that harms marine animals to the inevitable oil spills that damage the coastal environment and adjacent communities and businesses. New oil and gas drilling would also exacerbate the effects of climate change as our nation and world struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Offshore drilling is also wildly unpopular across the country with members of both political parties opposed to expanded oil and gas development off our coasts. To date, more than 380 municipalities, 2,500 elected officials, 55,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have formally opposed new offshore oil and gas development. And, with the climate emergency threatening the future of our planet, we can no longer afford the costs of fossil fuels.

Now is the time to demand that our federal government boldly transition away from fossil fuels and embrace a clean energy future!

Make Your Voice Heard

This year offers a critical opportunity to permanently protect U.S. coasts from new offshore drilling. To achieve this goal Surfrider is urging Congress and the administration to permanently protect U.S. waters from offshore oil and gas development. Please contact your federal representatives to ask them to pass legislation to ban new offshore drilling.

Take Action: Contact your federal representatives

Here is a list of bills that Surfrider is supporting:

  • COAST Anti-Drilling Act (S 1851/HR 3116)
  • West Coast Protection Act (S 58/ HR 653)
  • Florida Coastal Protection Act (HR 2836)
  • American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act (HR 3053)
  • North Pacific Ocean Protection Act (HR 3048)
  • Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act (HR 544)