Movement to protect our coast from offshore oil drilling takes hold

Members of Virginia Beach’s business community have come out against offshore oil drilling due to the threat it poses to their livelihoods, which depend on a clean ocean. (© iStock)

The surging coastal opposition to proposed Atlantic offshore oil drilling was highlighted in a story on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post. In the article, Derb Carter, Director of SELC’s North Carolina office, aptly observed that oil industry studies and the region’s own governors “ignore the fact that there is already an existing economy along the Atlantic coast...built on things like tourism and fisheries. All of that would be put in jeopardy by oil and gas development.”

“It seems to us that the governors are not in close touch with their own coasts,” Carter noted.

Despite the governors’ position, elected officials are speaking out in greater numbers against offshore drilling. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s Lieutenant Governor, Henry McMaster, joined South Carolina Republican Representatives Mark Sanford and Tom Rice this week by saying offshore drilling is not worth the risk and that he does not support the proposal.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also voiced skepticism about Atlantic offshore drilling last week, saying “the move carries real environmental risks and helps delay a move to renewable energy.”

Those whose livelihood is threatened by the drilling proposal include the South Carolina business community. Representatives from more than 400 small businesses went to Columbia, S.C., last Wednesday to let Governor Haley know she is not acting on behalf of their interests by supporting offshore drilling.

The increasing bipartisan opposition and resolutions from 93 Atlantic communities against offshore exploration and drilling come as the Obama Administration revisits its proposed Atlantic oil leasing plan, which is expected to be released early next year. 


Click the links below for more of last week’s coverage of Atlantic offshore drilling.

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