Policy on Offshore Oil Drilling

Approved by the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors on November 5, 2011

Whereas, after more than 30 years of bipartisan support both the executive and congressional moratoria on new offshore oil drilling were allowed to expire in 2008;

Whereas, the federal government may now allow new offshore oil drilling;

Whereas, offshore oil drilling creates serious environmental impacts associated with each stage of offshore oil drilling, whether or not there is a catastrophic spill;

Whereas seismic surveys to identify oil and gas deposits beneath the seafloor cause significant impacts to marine life;  

Whereas, the process of offshore oil drilling releases thousands of gallons of polluted water into the ocean, known as “drilling muds”, which contain toxic materials including benzene, zinc, arsenic, radioactive materials, and other contaminants;

Whereas, oil spills take place on a consistent basis. Each year, about 880,000 gallons of oil are spilled into the ocean from U.S. offshore oil drilling operations;

Whereas, the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 released at least 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, fouling beaches and coastal wetlands; killing birds, fish, and marine mammals; and devastating the recreation and fishing-based coastal economies of the Gulf States;

Whereas, nearly 20 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, more than 26,000 gallons of oil still remained in the soil on the shoreline;

Whereas, every three to four years a spill of at least 420,000 gallons is expected to occur;

Whereas, oil spills can ruin entire ecosystems and can take numerous years to clean up;

Whereas, offshore oil drilling has onshore environmental impacts adversely affecting local communities because oil production requires industrial infrastructure on land (e.g., roads, storage tanks, pipelines, processing facilities, and other facilities);

Whereas, neither new drilling technology nor advances in drilling technology has made offshore oil drilling environmentally safe;

Whereas, between 2006 and 2015 there were 335 oil spills from offshore platforms and 52 oil spills from offshore related pipelines, resulting in 206.5 million gallons of oil released in US waters;

Whereas, new offshore oil drilling will not significantly reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil;

Whereas, new offshore oil drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic is only estimated to provide 758 days, or 25 months supply of oil at current rates of consumption;

Whereas, new offshore oil drilling will not change gasoline prices for the consumer;

Whereas, the Surfrider Foundation advocates for the conservation of coastal and ocean resources and the use of renewable energy sources over fossil fuels; and

Whereas, conservation measures can save more oil than is available in domestic reserves offshore;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors that:

The Surfrider Foundation is opposed to offshore oil drilling and related seismic exploration in new areas. Our nation’s ocean, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological treasures that will be polluted by an increase in offshore oil drilling. Instead of pursuing transient and environmentally harmful ways to meet America’s energy needs, we should seek comprehensive and environmentally sustainable energy solutions, including energy conservation.

More information and references can be found here.