House passes bill to ban Atlantic offshore oil drilling

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to protect the Atlantic coast by passing a bill that bans offshore oil drilling and seismic blasting in waters from Florida to Maine. (© SELC)

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 224-189 to pass an appropriations bill that, among several other things, bans the dangerous and outdated practice off offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic.

“People in the Southeast have been fighting back against drilling attempts for the better part of a decade,” says Nat Mund, SELC’s director of Federal Affairs and the Washington, D.C. office. “So far we’re winning, and this latest action by Congress proves it.”

The appropriations bill, HR 7608, also pays for agriculture, military construction, and is the legislation that funds the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Interior.

The component banning offshore oil drilling prohibits the Department of the Interior from selling any new leases for oil drilling or issuing any permits, including those for seismic blasting.

Last year, the House passed similar language, but the Senate rejected it. The bill now moves to the Senate once again.

“SELC applauds the House of Representatives for protecting our coastal communities from the dangers of offshore drilling,” says Mund. “This time, we hope the Senators will follow their lead.”

News reports indicate the Trump administration will move to open the Atlantic coast to offshore oil drilling and exploration late in 2020. SELC and the coalition committed to protecting our coast will be watching for any such action.

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