Tidal wave of opposition rises against efforts to expand offshore drilling
Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3265 or [email protected]
Dede Shelton, Hands Across the Sand, (208) 724-5196 or [email protected]
Chris Carnevale, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, (843) 973-2637 or [email protected]
Pete Stauffer, Surfrider Foundation, (503) 887-0514 or [email protected]
Nancy Pyne, Oceana, (202) 467-1903 or [email protected]
Anne Hawke, Natural Resources Defense Council, (646) 823-4518 or [email protected]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 19, 2017 – concerned citizens, local elected officials, business leaders, conservation groups, and other diverse voices will launch a #ProtectOurCoast Week of Action beginning Saturday May 20th dedicated to protecting our communities, businesses, marine life and climate from the dangers of expanded offshore drilling. The week will kick-off with the annual Hands Across the Sand global day of action and will include more than 100 beach events in 19 states and Washington D.C.
The Week of Action will send a clear message to President Trump: protect our oceans and coastal communities from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and exploration, including seismic airgun blasting. The efforts are supported by hundreds of local groups, Surfrider Foundation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, and many more.
Hands Across the Sand Executive Director, Dede Shelton, said, “It is time that we join together and accomplish one of the most important things we can do as human beings, work to save our planet from fossil fuels.”
Oceana campaign director, Nancy Pyne said: “Coastal communities are more fired up than ever before to protect our coast from the threats of offshore drilling. Tomorrow’s events draw a clear line in the sand against offshore drilling and exploration. From the industrialization of coastal communities, to the looming risk of another BP Deepwater Horizon-like disaster, expanded offshore drilling would forever change the fabric of our coasts, threatening thriving coastal economies and lucrative industries like tourism, recreation and fishing.”
Surfrider Foundation’s environmental director, Pete Stauffer, said: “Offshore oil drilling is a dirty and dangerous practice that threatens the health of our ocean and coastal communities. Expanding offshore drilling will damage marine ecosystems, in addition to industries such as tourism, recreation, and fishing that generate billions of dollars for our nation’s economy.”
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) Coastal Climate and Energy Manager, Chris Carnevale, said: “Residents and businesses along our coast have spoken and we are strongly opposed to drilling off our shores. Tomorrow’s events will be a visual demonstration of our bipartisan opposition, which President Trump’s Interior Department has the obligation to take into account to ensure that Washington politicians do not force a one-size-fits-all approach in violation of the public’s will.”
Franz Matzner, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Beyond Oil Initiative, said: “In addition to threatening to destroy coastal economies, devastate our shared ocean resources, and pollute our air and climate, offshore drilling will divert financial resources and industry attention from what we really need to focus on: more clean solar, wind, and energy efficiency that can power our nation and deliver hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. All while cutting pollution that harms our health.
Hands Across the Sand events will be held on Saturday in 19 states–California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C.—as well as in Canada, Egypt, Australia, and New Zealand. The event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC will take place from 11:30am – 12pm. For more information on the DC event, contact Megan Riley ([email protected]). For more information about Hands Across the Sands events, go to handsacrossthesand.org.
Just seven years after offshore drilling caused the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, the Trump Administration is now pushing to expand offshore drilling activities off our coasts. Late last month, President Trump signed an executive order that attempts to remove permanent protections for the majority of the U.S. Arctic and critical portions of the Atlantic, revisits the just completed five-year program (from 2017-2022) for oil and gas development on the publically owned Outer Continental Shelf, discards safety measures for drilling operations, and directs the Administration to streamline the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface.
The order ignores overwhelming coastal opposition, a national grassroots movement, and the opinion of the majority of Americans that compelled the previous administration to abandon plans to pursue offshore drilling and exploration along the Atlantic coast and in the U.S. Arctic, and instead preserve and protect large swaths of these natural resources for future generations.
As of today, more than 1.4 million people submitted comments opposing offshore drilling to the Obama administration. More than 120 East Coast municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials, and an alliance representing over 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have publicly opposed Atlantic offshore drilling activities. Members of the U.S. House and Senate have voiced support for protecting our coasts, and spokespeople from Native Alaskan leaders to veterans, to a host of environmental Latino, conservation, and faith-based leaders have advocated against selling off our ocean waters—from the Arctic to the Atlantic —that belong to all citizens.
To learn more and for a complete list of opposition, please visit www.StopTheDrill.org.
Hands Across the Sand is an international day of action on which activists and beachgoers alike send a message to the world that dirty offshore drilling be replaced with clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind. Participants will join hands to “draw a line in the sand” and create a powerful visual statement against expanding offshore drilling. To learn more, please visit www.handsacrossthesand.org.