Ocean Protection, Updates, Not the answer
January 08 2019

U.S. Legislators Fight Back Against Proposed Offshore Drilling

by Pete Stauffer

Federal and state lawmakers announced a package of bills on Tuesday to block the Trump administration’s plans for new offshore drilling. Please contact your representatives to express support for anti-drilling legislation!

The U.S. Congress has opened a new legislative session and federal lawmakers are wasting little time introducing bills to stop offshore oil drilling off our nation’s coastlines. House members from districts across the U.S. introduced a package of legislation today that collectively would protect the East Coast, West Coast, Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Arctic Ocean from new offshore oil and gas development. For the full list of bills see today’s press release from the House Natural Resources Committee.

Contact your federal representatives to support bills against offshore drilling click here

State legislators are also taking action to stop offshore drilling. During a press call today hosted by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), lawmakers from Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Connecticut announced plans for anti-drilling legislation. Since the Trump administration proposed new drilling in over 90% of U.S. waters, over 225 legislators from coastal states have voiced their opposition. Now these states are taking action to protect their coastal environment and industries such as recreation, tourism and fisheries that depend on these resources.

While state governments lack authority to ban offshore drilling in federal waters (beyond 3 miles from shore), the bills would prohibit oil drilling, pipelines and other infrastructure in state waters, making it more difficult and expensive for the oil and gas industry to develop offshore resources. In doing so, state leaders hope to add a blanket of protection for coastal waters while the Department of Interior works to finalize the 5-year drilling plan for 2019 - 2024.

The flurry of federal and state bills is the latest in a massive wave of bipartisan opposition to new offshore drilling. To date, more than 300 municipalities, 2,000 elected officials, 45,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families across the U.S. have formally opposed new offshore oil and gas development. Nearly all coastal governors and more than 150 members of Congress - both Democrats and Republicans – have opposed plans to revise the 5-year offshore drilling program.

The Department of Interior is expected to release the next draft of the 5-year offshore drilling plan shortly after the government shutdown ends. The agency will open a 90 day comment period and host a series of public meetings to collect feedback on the draft plan. During the first public comment last year, over 1.3 million comments were submitted in opposition to new offshore drilling, prompting observers to speculate how the Trump administration will address this feedback in the latest version of the plan.

Surfrider is determined to stop new offshore drilling off U.S. coasts, but we need your help! Please take action by contacting your federal representatives in support of anti-drilling legislation. Surfrider is also launching state campaigns in support of bills in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Georgia, Oregon, Washington and elsewhere. We encourage our members from these states to contact your state representatives to express support.

Finally, we urge everyone to participate in the Department of Interior’s upcoming public comment period of the proposed 5-year offshore drilling plan. Please stay tuned to Surfrider’s channels for the latest news and ways to take action!

Contact Your Member of Congress Click Here

Visit Surfrider’s Offshore Drilling Campaign Page

Access Our Offshore Drilling Activist Toolkit