American Voters Overwhelmingly Support Protecting U.S. Waters from New Offshore Drilling, Poll Reveals  - Oceana USA

American Voters Overwhelmingly Support Protecting U.S. Waters from New Offshore Drilling, Poll Reveals 

Press Release Date: July 11, 2024

Location: Washington, D.C.


Cory Gunkel | email: | tel: Cory Gunkel

Oceana released the results of a new poll today revealing that two-thirds of American voters (64%) support their elected officials protecting U.S. coastlines from new offshore drilling, with similar support among registered voters in coastal states (66%). The poll also found this support grew among youth voters 18 to 29 years of age (70%).  

The results come as Oceana calls for the president to use his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to permanently protect the Atlantic Coast and eastern Gulf of Mexico from future offshore drilling, which exacerbates the climate crisis and risks dangerous oil spills that threaten coastal communities, economies, and marine life.    

“The president has the unique opportunity – and authority – to prevent new oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters,” said Beth Lowell, Oceana’s leader in the United States. “Actions to protect our coasts from new offshore drilling have the overwhelming support of American voters who are demanding urgent action on climate. There is longstanding bipartisan support for protecting our coasts from new offshore drilling among members of Congress, governors, business coalitions, and millions of Americans. Administrations of both parties over the last 30 years have used their authority under OCSLA to protect areas of the ocean from drilling. Now is the time for the president to help protect us from the worst impacts of the climate crisis by permanently protecting nearly half a million square miles of ocean in the Atlantic and eastern Gulf of Mexico from new dirty and dangerous offshore drilling.”  

The national online poll, conducted for Oceana by the nonpartisan polling company Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®, surveyed 1,053 registered U.S. voters from June 28 to 30, 2024.  


The Department of the Interior finalized President Biden’s Five-Year Plan for offshore oil and gas leasing in December 2023, which includes three new lease sales scheduled for 2025, 2027, and 2029 in the central and western Gulf of Mexico. Several prior administrations have threatened to open the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling, so despite the exclusion of the Atlantic and eastern Gulf from the most recent Five-Year Plan, those areas are still at risk without action from the president to permanently protect them. 

A 2021 analysis by Oceana found that protecting all unleased federal waters from offshore drilling in the United States could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of taking every car in the nation off the road for 15 years. Ending new leasing could also prevent more than $720 billion in damage to people, property, and the environment. The three new approved leases would add to the more than 2,000 leases the oil industry already holds, according to an Oceana report. That totals more than 12 million acres of ocean, with 75% of those acres currently sitting unused.