News | March 23, 2015

SELC brings scientists into Atlantic offshore drilling conversation

The deadline to comment on the federal proposal to open Atlantic coastal waters to offshore drilling is less than one week away. With the deadline fast approaching, SELC recently organized a scientific forum on the subject. The event brought together scientists, policymakers, and concerned citizens to examine the impacts drilling would have on shores up and down the Atlantic coast. 

During The South Atlantic Offshore Drilling Forum: An Investigation of Potential Impacts on Our Coasts, experts discussed not only what we know about the catastrophic impacts of potential oil spills but also the everyday implications of introducing drilling to a community, from pipeline construction and maintenance to increased truck traffic. Of particular concern is the robust tourism industry along Atlantic beaches. While the impacts of any spill that reaches shore are obvious, there are also worries about the industrialization of areas prized for their unsullied beauty.

Additional concerns surround impacts to marine life and our coastal region's unique ecosystems if the plan moves forward. Unique feeding and breeding grounds for a variety of wildlife would be impacted if the plan is in implemented.

A repeated refrain during the forum was how small the potential benefits of drilling appear, particularly when compared to the enormity of the known risks and damaging impacts. As a result, many at the meeting urged others to submit comments to the federal government requesting that they remove our Southern coasts from the drilling plan. Comments can be submitted at


You can read one attendee's reaction to the forum here.

Full video coverage and PowerPoint slides from the event are available here