A sea otter off the U.S. coast.
Credit: Mike Baird.
As the new year began, the Trump administration announced plans to open most of America’s coastal waters to offshore drilling for oil and gas, including the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
This will allow for massive lease sales that will endanger coastal lands and communities.
This decision—which is part of the administration’s “Energy Dominance” platform—poses a grave threat to thousands of miles of sensitive shorelines that are home to communities, marine mammals, fish, shorebirds and to fishing and tourism-dependent businesses.
It would open 90 percent of the nation’s coasts for oil and gas leasing at the same time the administration is weakening safeguards for offshore drilling operations. It would also give oil companies access to new offshore leases off California for the first time in decades.
An elephant seal at Piedras Biancas, CA, a coast now vulnerable to offshore drilling. Credit: Mason Cummings/TWS.
To pave the way for more offshore drilling, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is preparing to revise the government’s five-year offshore oil and gas leasing plans that were completed during the Obama administration. These plans, finalized in early 2017, were based on sound science.
The Interior Department is accepting public comments on its proposed revisions to the five-year plan through March 9.
The move to open these waters to oil drilling ignores the fact that America is already producing abundant oil from locations that do not imperil our oceans and shores, and we are exporting U.S.-produced oil. We simply don’t need more offshore drilling, and the risk of catastrophic offshore oil spills is unacceptable.
Imagine another Deepwater Horizon tragedy where 11 workers died and more than 200 million gallons were released in that Gulf of Mexico blowout in the remote and ice-filled waters of the Arctic, or off the coast of Seattle, Los Angeles or the east coast. It’s a nightmarish scenario that’s as unacceptable in those places as it was in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Atlantic Ocean as viewed from Acadia National Park, ME. Credit: David Barnas/flickr.
Unless they are stopped, the Trump administration will leave America’s coasts at the mercy of dirty and dangerous oil-drilling operations. We’ll be fighting them all the way, but we need your help. Please take a moment to tell the Interior Department to protect our oceans and coastlines.