Today, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced an Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, which requires a review of the five year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. In response, Oceana released the following statement from its Senior Vice President for U.S. Oceans, Jacqueline Savitz:
“Seven years, almost to the day, after offshore drilling caused the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, President Trump is taking aim at expanding this dirty and dangerous industry into new areas like the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Let me be clear: that would be a huge, bad, stupid mistake. I doubt President Trump would want to see Mar-a-Lago, or any of his other coastal resorts, covered in oil.
In offering up our oceans for this risky venture, President Trump is breaking with his fellow resort owners – as many in the tourism industry oppose offshore drilling – and siding instead with his oil industry allies, in a move disguised as a job creator. As of today, more than 120 East Coast municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials, and an alliance representing over 35,000 coastal businesses, including resort and restaurant owners, and others that depend on healthy oceans, have publicly opposed offshore drilling activities.
Coastal business leaders oppose offshore drilling in the Atlantic because it’s a job killer, not a job creator. From the industrialization of coastal communities, to the risk of a BP Deepwater Horizon-like oil disaster, offshore drilling would forever change the fabric of the American Atlantic, threatening thriving coastal economies and lucrative industries like tourism, recreation and fishing. Other energy ventures like offshore wind promise to create many more jobs, without threatening to coat our coastlines with oil.
The president’s efforts to benefit energy producers won’t make America great again. It will simply enable corner-cutting and set us up for another havoc-wreaking environmental disaster. But this time it could be along the popular Outer Banks or in remote Barrow, Alaska, where there’s no proven way to remove oil from sea ice. We need smart, tough standards to ensure that energy companies are not operating out of control. In their absence, America’s future promises more oil spills and industrialized coastlines.
The smart way to innovate energy production is to invest in the energy of tomorrow, not the energy of yesteryear. Instead of bringing dirty and dangerous offshore drilling to new areas, we need a winning strategy focused on promoting renewable energy sources like offshore wind, which would produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic.
As thousands gather in Washington this weekend for the Peoples Climate March, we need to send President Trump a clear message: protect our coast from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling.”