As comment deadline nears, coastal consensus against offshore drilling emerges
With only a few days left for public comments on a federal plan to open the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts to offshore drilling, citizens from up and down the southeastern seaboard are delivering a clear message to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM): drilling is a threat to our communities.
In Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, nearly 700 residents—the largest community attendance in the agency’s history—spoke to BOEM officials over 4 hours, the vast majority against drilling.
In Charleston, SC, the city council passed a resolution opposing the plan. “The environmental quality of our coastal zone is a part of the inheritance of every person in South Carolina, and I just don’t think that it’s worth it,” said Mayor Joe Riley.
All over the Mid-Atlantic region, various groups and communities are uniting to protest the plan. To date, over 30 towns and cities up and down the coast have passed or are actively voting on resolutions against offshore drilling and seismic testing for oil.
Various local chambers of commerce, including the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, and business entities like the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and the International Game Fish Association have voiced strong concerns about the plan.
Over 20 North Carolina representatives have spoken up and opposed seismic testing, while Southeast mayors from Charleston, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine have written to the Interior Department to express disapproval of offshore drilling and testing.
The reasons for the opposition are clear: oil and gas leasing is a serious threat to the environment, economy, and lifestyle of the Southern coast.
SELC has outlined the risks in a four-page fact sheet about offshore drilling, highlighting how the proposal prioritizes big oil over local business and jobs, threatens one of the most environmentally valuable and fragile regions of the country, and ignores the lessons of the BP disaster on Deepwater Horizon.
SELC is working to remove the Atlantic Coast from the proposed plan. The public has through Monday, March 30th to submit comments to BOEM.