An Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump today looks to reopen the issue of offshore drilling in the Atlantic. The order instructs the Department of Interior to review the decision of the previous administration to exclude the Southeast from its 5-year drilling plan and to not allow seismic blasting in this area. The review order goes against the will of coastal communities who came out in force last year when the possibility of Atlantic drilling was first on the table. More than 120 coastal cities and towns from New Jersey to Florida—including major Southeastern cities at risk like Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Savannah—passed resolutions against Atlantic drilling and seismic testing.
Those forces will speak out again after hearing the news of the executive order, with protests up and down the coast including in Virginia and the Carolinas.
“Revisiting the decision to keep the Atlantic closed to offshore drilling is a slap in the face to towns and cities up and down the coast that have already made clear that they do not want this for their communities,” said Senior Attorney Sierra Weaver. “Offshore drilling threatens our beautiful beaches and pristine waters and jeopardizes the backbone of our economy – the Southeast’s billion-dollar tourism and recreation industry. Coastal communities made it clear to the last president that they don’t want offshore drilling, and they’ll do the same with this president.”
Last March, coastal opposition combined with scientific research convinced the Obama Administration to scrap a controversial plan to open the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to industrial oil and gas exploration for the first time, a move that would dramatically change coastal communities and jeopardize coastal economies. The Southeast coast is built around a thriving tourism industry that attracts visitors from around the world to the pristine beaches, picturesque coastal communities, and beautiful waters that could be devastated with a single major oil spill. Even without a catastrophic accident, the industrialization and infrastructure associated with drilling—the rigs, refineries, pipelines, and traffic—would irreparably change coastal communities and the thriving tourism economy.
SELC and our partners are working to ensure our coast remains clean and productive for its citizens, businesses, and communities.