Since the Trump administration first proposed its draft five-year offshore oil and gas plan, there has been an outpouring of opposition to offshore drilling from coastal communities around the country. And Congress is listening.
In the coming days, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on two offshore oil and gas bills: the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941), sponsored by Representative Cunningham (D-SC), and the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act (H.R. 205), sponsored by Representatives Rooney (R-FL) and Castor (D-FL). These bills would, collectively, protect the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from offshore drilling. The House Natural Resources Committee approved both bills with bipartisan support in June.
Overwhelming Opposition to Offshore Drilling
To back up, the Trump administration released a draft five-year offshore oil and gas plan in early 2018 that aimed to open up more than 90% of America’s available oceans to offshore drilling. This included areas that are critical for habitat, important areas for commercial, recreational and subsistence uses and regions where adjacent coastal communities overwhelmingly oppose offshore drilling. The announcement of this short-sighted five-year plan was met with strong opposition from all around the country, and from both sides of the aisle—including nearly all coastal Governors, 2,200 elected officials, tens of thousands of ocean advocates and more than 360 municipalities.
As a result of this outpouring of support for ocean protection, the Trump administration announced this past spring that the five-year planning process would be delayed “indefinitely.” But that doesn’t mean we should stop being vigilant. The fact remains that the Trump administration has not officially ended its efforts to drastically expand offshore drilling. Without Congressional action to put tangible protections in place, the administration could resume at any time.
Congressional Leaders Take a Stand
In May, Ocean Conservancy hosted Congressman Cunningham and Congressman Rooney for an “Ocean Conversation” with members of the environmental advocacy community. Both Congressmen made it clear that protections against offshore drilling were a top priority, and that they would continue to work to advance their bills through the House. Thanks to champions in Congress and the thousands of individuals who have worked tirelessly to make their opposition to drilling known, these bills have a strong chance of passing the House with bi-partisan support this month. But we need your help to make it happen.
Will you join us in speaking up for the ocean by taking action today? Your members of Congress need to hear from YOU that this is an important issue. Tell your representative to vote YES on H.R. 1941 and H.R. 205 to protect our coasts from offshore drilling!
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