Defending Our Southern Coasts
Our Southern beaches are world famous destinations and our fisheries are among the most productive in the world. For 30 years, SELC has worked to protect our coastal resources and we remain a leading voice against opening the Southeast and new areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling.
Risks of Oil Drilling
In early 2015, the Obama administration announced it was considering opening up the Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling, a significant shift in federal policy that would jeopardize the communities, jobs, and beloved beaches that are the very heart of our coastal states.
The possibility of drilling off the coast galvanized locals who knew the dangers it posed to the area’s economy and environment. Altogether, more than 140 communities up and down the coast passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling and the harmful seismic testing that precedes it.
In response to the incredible opposition from coastal communities, in 2016 the federal government removed the Atlantic from its offshore leasing plan, protecting all that is special about the Southeast coast.
However, the Trump administration has announced a proposal to allow annual lease sales off the Mid- and South Atlantic, omitting the 50 mile buffer off the coast included in the previous administration’s five-year plan. In addition, the Trump administration has proposed to roll back safety rules put in place in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, all of which would bring drilling closer to shore and make it more dangerous for the communities who depend on the coast and its fisheries.
The beautiful and biologically rich Southeast coastal areas and our Gulf Coast feature some of the most beloved places in the country, including the Chesapeake Bay, the Pamlico Sound, the ACE Basin, and Mobile Bay. Our coasts attract millions of tourists, anglers, and other visitors each year.
Tourism and fishing—both commercial and recreational—are the economic backbone of hundreds of communities along our coasts.
The environmental impacts of offshore drilling and its accompanying infrastructure and refineries onshore were well known even before the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean rigs routinely spill and leak oil—and sometimes blow out.
Even without a major spill, the industrialization and infrastructure associated with drilling—the rigs, refineries, pipelines, traffic, and routine spills and accidents—would irreparably change our coastal communities and economies.
Even though they are closely related, offshore drilling is regulated separately from seismic testing, a process of using loud airguns to test the ocean floor for fuels. The oil and gas industry continues to push seismic testing, and the Trump administration has streamlined the permitting process for seismic testing in the Atlantic and is expected to issue final permits imminently.
Seismic testing is a means to one end: offshore oil and gas development, and it is widely opposed by residents, businesses, and local governments up and down the East Coast. There is absolutely no reason to allow seismic testing, harmful on its own, when the Atlantic coast has overwhelmingly rejected offshore drilling. SELC continues to work alongside coastal communities to ensure seismic testing does not move forward.
Not Worth the Risk
The South has too much to lose and too little to gain by opening up the Southeast coast and eastern Gulf to offshore oil drilling. Instead SELC advocates increased energy efficiency and development of clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind and solar.
For more information and to get involved, visit ProtectOurCoastNow.com.
This Case Affects
Attorneys on Case
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Virginians Stand Up to Trump Administration Offshore Drilling Plans at Richmond Public Meeting
Administration Playing Politics by Only Removing Florida from Offshore Drilling Plan
Trump Administration’s Plan for Offshore Drilling Threatens Southeast Communities
With Governors Stacked Against Offshore Drilling, the Coast Has Spoken
SELC: Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Plan Threatens Southeast, Ignores Overwhelming Opposition
Governor Cooper Joins More Than 125 Coastal Communities in Opposing Offshore Drilling
Southern Groups Intervene to Defend Atlantic Coast from Seismic Blasting
Businesses, Former Navy Base Commander: Offshore Drilling a Threat to Economy, Military
Despite Coastal Opposition, Trump Administration Aims to Open Atlantic to Offshore Drilling
Fact Sheet: Communities Oppose Plan to Open the Southeast Coast to Offshore Drilling
SELC Comments on Offshore Drilling