House bill, backed by Coastal reps, bans ocean drilling

The House’s ban on ocean drilling, if also adopted by the Senate, would protect countless special places off our coasts.

The House of Representatives has passed a ban on oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, fulfilling a campaign promise by Charleston freshman Congressman Joe Cunningham who vowed to voters he would protect the coast.

The bill, H.R. 1941, also called the “Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act,” will move to the Republican-controlled Senate where there is less optimism about its future.

Cunningham has pointed out that the issue is bi-partisan, with several Republican East Coast governors, attorneys general, and other Republican elected leaders raising voices in opposition to drilling. But in the House, the vote largely fell along party lines. The bill passed by a vote of 238-189, with only 12 of 197 Republicans supporting it.

I want to remind my colleagues, if you are a true conservative, if you are a real conservative, be an environmental conservative, too.”

—Congressman Joe Cunningham

Still, the vote represents a remarkable political turnaround from just a few years ago when, for example, several mid- and South Atlantic governors courted drilling.

“The House of Representatives heard loudly and clearly the tens of thousands of coastal voices opposing offshore oil drilling and took action to protect the coast,” said Sierra Weaver, an SELC senior attorney who heads the organization’s anti-drilling efforts. “The Trump administration on the other hand is hearing just a few voices inside the oil industry. We hope the Senate will likewise represent the coastal voters and businesses who have the most to lose from this reckless drilling push.”

Speaking just before the final vote, Cunningham repeated a mantra he’s used to try to convince Republican colleagues to protect the coast from drilling.

“I want to remind my colleagues, if you are a true conservative, if you are a real conservative, be an environmental conservative, too,” he said.

More than 260 counties, towns and cities in East Coast states have passed resolutions against drilling and the seismic blasting that precedes it. The Trump administration has delayed the release of its proposed 5-year oil and gas leasing plan – many believe until after the 2020 election to aid Republican candidates -- but there is nothing to prevent the White House from moving forward at any time.


Watch a highlight from Rep. Cunningham's argument for the bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

 

More News

Georgians: Tell the Public Service Commission to reject Georgia Power’s proposed fee hike

Georgia Power is looking to charge customers more for electricity, including making it harder for customers to save money by consuming less. The...

Multi-front attack on clean water takes aim at state authority

In another affront to clean water protections, the Trump administration is proposing to weaken the key mechanism states use to ensure federally a...

Iconic southern bird at risk of losing key federal protections

The iconic red-cockaded woodpecker has been considered endangered for nearly fifty years. Now, the federal agency tasked with protecting the spec...

Agency hides red wolf info while leaving species to dwindle

Today SELC filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its ongoing lack of transparency regarding management of the world’s last re...

Fall News, 2019

Our print newsletter has hit mailboxes every season for more than three decades. Now, to make it easily accessible for all, we're also presenting...

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear case on unnecessary and destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Today, the nation’s highest court agreed to review a lower court decision, which revoked a U.S. Forest Service permit for the unnecessary and des...

More Stories