Ocean Protection, Ocean Energy
May 12 2011

Congress Opens Our Coasts for Drilling

by Pete Stauffer

The House of Representatives today passed HR 1231 "Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act", the third in a trio of bills that would accelerate and expand offshore drilling in the United States. HR 1231 would mandate drilling in new places that have not been drilled before, including the north & central Atlantic, southern California, and offshore Alaska, including Bristol Bay. It would also require a doubling of offshore domestic oil production over current levels by 2027.

Fortunately, these proposals would also have to pass the Senate - where opposition to offshore drilling is stronger - before they could become law. However, Sen. Mitch McConnell has already introduced S. 953, setting the stage for a heated debate on this issue. Sen. McConnell’s bill, while not identical to the House bills, takes the same reckless approach to approving new drilling and limiting environmental and safety reviews of lease sales and drilling permits, leaving oversight even weaker than it was before the Gulf oil disaster.

More than ever, now is a critical time to call your senator to ask him/ her to support protecting our coasts from drilling. Calling your federal representative is the most effective way to have your voice heard. Surfrider will also be launching an action alert in the next week to help you contact your senator. Stay tuned and thanks for taking action!!