News | May 7, 2021

SELC statement on bill to permanently protect Atlantic Ocean from drilling

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. just announced his intention to file a bill to permanently protect the Atlantic Ocean from offshore drilling.

“It’s time to end the whiplash coastal communities have endured in recent years as drilling has been put on the table and taken off the table,” says Sierra Weaver, a senior attorney and leader of SELC's Coast and Wetlands Program. “This bill is an important start to the conversation about meaningful and permanent protections for the Atlantic Ocean, which coastal communities are craving to safeguard their families and their economies.”

Since 2013, the Atlantic has been proposed for drilling, and then granted reprieves, first by the Obama administration and then the Trump administration. In the waning months of 2020, President Trump reversed his earlier course and issued executive orders banning drilling for 10 years in some sections of the Atlantic, but also made campaign promises that were ultimately unfulfilled for other sections. President Biden has likewise taken executive action to further delay new leasing while his administration considers its overall energy policy.

The hundreds of coastal communities that depend on the Atlantic Ocean and the economy it provides must be assured offshore drilling is forever abandoned.