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Congress Debates New Offshore Drilling: Time to Speak Out!

Congress is considering legislation to expand oil and gas drilling on land and in the ocean. Please take action below to protect our coasts!

On March 30, the House of Representatives passed a dangerous package of energy and permitting reform bills, known as H.R. 1, that threatens our coastal environment and the future viability of our planet. The legislation not only requires new oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters, it weakens bedrock environmental laws and undermines global efforts to reduce carbon pollution. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration and a potential vote.

The damaging bill would require annual oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, resulting in new offshore drilling across thousands of acres of U.S. waters. The bill would also exempt seismic blasting surveys from the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, harming countless whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and fish. More broadly, the legislation would gut environmental review of energy projects by weakening the National Environmental Policy Act. In sum, the bill is a massive giveaway to oil and gas at a time when real action on climate change is paramount.

Fortunately, leaders in the House and Senate have also introduced legislation to protect U.S. coasts from new oil and gas development.

The recent actions of congress reinforce that our coasts and ocean will never be safe until new oil and gas leasing is prohibited. Moreover, the Biden administration has retreated from its climate change pledges by approving the Willow oil project in Alaska and proposing new oil and gas leasing in the next 5-year offshore drilling plan. Accordingly, forward-thinking members of congress are advancing legislation to permanently protect different regions of the country from new oil and gas development.

Since the start of the current Congress, Senate and House leaders have introduced several bills to stop new offshore drilling in U.S. waters. These include: The West Coast Protection Act (S 22/ H.R. 470), which would ban drilling off the West Coast; The COAST Anti-Drilling Act (S 617 / H.R. 1320), which would ban drilling off the East Coast; and The Florida Coastal Protection Act (H.R.1443) and that would protect the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and other waters off Florida. Surfrider is determined to pass these and other bills to ensure that U.S. waters will not continue to be vulnerable to new leasing through the 5-year plan process.

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 unpopular across the country with members of both political parties opposed to expanded oil and gas development off our coasts. To date, more than 400 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

Please join us by contacting your federal representatives in support of protecting our coasts from oil and gas drilling.  Take action by completing our action alert to congress today!.

Without a massive mobilization by the public, our voice will be drowned out by the lobbying power of Big Oil in Washington, D.C. Let’s protect the places we love and #protectourcoasts!

Stop Offshore Drilling Campaign Resources

Stop Offshore Drilling Campaign Page

Surfrider Brand Portal: Offshore Drilling

Action Alert to Congress