The people have spoken and our federal leaders have responded! The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced today that it is canceling plans for new offshore oil drilling off the Atlantic coast. The decsion comes as part of the agency's release of its proposed five-year offshore drilling plan for 2017 - 2022. The previous draft of the plan included new oil drilling off the Mid- and South Atlantic coast. In response to the news, the Surfrider Foundation released the following statement:
"The Surfrider Foundation applauds the federal government’s leadership on this issue. Offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous practice that threatens the health of our oceans and coastal communities. It requires seismic surveys, drilling operations, oil transport by tankers, and the installation of platforms, pipelines, and other infrastructure. Collectively these activities significantly damage both the environment and related economies, while exposing our coastlines to the risk of catastrophic oil spills. Our federal government has heard the voices of countless stakeholders who are strongly opposed to the expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic coast, including the Surfrider Foundation, which represents more than 250,000 members and supporters nationwide with 34 East Coast chapters from Maine to Florida."
The Surfrider Foundation and its 34 East Coast chapters worked tirelessly over the past year alongside other environmental organizations, local communities and businesses as well as elected officials to help fight this proposal as it would have made the East Coast vulnerable to oil spills and potential bigger disasters. We are thrilled that the Obama Administration listened to the more then 1,000 coastal businesses, 80+ state legislators and 100+ coastal communities who protested against the original plan. Through this decision, President Obama helps preserve the waters and marine life that surround our Eastern seaboard, along with the communities and people that depend upon these resources.
On March 27, 2015, the Surfrider Foundation submitted comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in support of the protection of the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska from offshore drilling in the 2017 – 2022 Leasing Program.
Surfrider and coastal industry leaders also met with Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Abigail Ross Hopper, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), to express their opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic. On February 16, 2016, they delivered over 1000 signatures from coastal businesses in opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic, along with a surfboard signed by businesses and congressional members from both parties. The surfboard was submitted to the White House as a reminder of the coastal recreation industry’s dependence on a clean and healthy coastal environment.
As we celebrate this monumental decision, we would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to our Surfrider chapters and members who worked on this campaign, along with the many communities, coastal businesses, and other citizens who spoke out on this issue!