On Thursday June 20, the U.S. House of Representatives passed several amendments as part of the Department of Interior funding bill (H.R. 3052) that would block new offshore oil development in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico through fiscal year 2020. The amendments still need to be approved by the Senate, but are an important step in Congress stopping the Trump administration from expanding offshore drilling off our coasts.
The House amendments would prevent the Secretary of the Interior from spending any money on pre-leasing or leasing activities related to selling offshore drilling rights to energy developers. Specific measures include:
- One-year moratorium on offshore drilling and related activities off the Atlantic Coast
- One-year moratorium on offshore drilling and related activities off the state of Florida
- One-year moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling and related activities off the Pacific Coast
- Funding limitation to block harmful seismic airgun blasting for oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean
Bipartisan support of these measures is a testament to the fact that grassroots opposition is working! Offshore drilling is becoming wildly unpopular across the country with members of both political parties overwhelmingly opposed to expanded oil and gas development off our coasts. To date, more than 350 municipalities, 2,100 elected officials, 49,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have formally opposed new offshore oil and gas development.
While the latest news is encouraging, it does not change the fact that new offshore oil drilling is currently planned in over 90% of U.S. waters. There is still a lengthy process ahead before these bills become official. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to protect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from expanded offshore drilling activities.
That is why Surfrider is calling on our supporters to continue speaking out against new offshore drilling. We must continue to fight to defend our coasts from new oil and gas development.
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