Even though the BP oil spill was five years ago this spring, the devastating effects are still being felt along the Gulf Coast as communities and economies struggle to clean up and rebound. Now, the federal government is considering opening up our beloved Southeast coast to offshore oil and gas drilling.
The Department of the Interior’s draft five-year plan, released today, makes the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts available to oil and gas leasing. This move is a significant shift in federal policy and would jeopardize the communities, jobs, and beloved beaches that are the very heart of our coastal states.
Leasing has not happened in over 30 years in the Atlantic, and the single lease sale proposed off the coast of Virginia was cancelled in the wake of the BP disaster in 2010 – a catastrophic event that spilled over 130 million gallons of oil, costing billions of dollars to the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal economies and causing unprecedented environmental damage.
SELC responded immediately to this announcement, urging everyone who cares about our coastal communities to call on Interior Secretary Jewell, as well as our elected representatives, to protect our coasts and remove the Southeast from the leasing plan.