Atlantic Offshore Drilling Threatens National Security Operations
New Oceana Maps Highlight Areas of Conflict off Virginia and Georgia Coasts
Press Release Date: November 1, 2017
Today, Oceana released new maps highlighting concerns from the Department of Defense (DOD) over expanded offshore drilling activities and infrastructure in the Atlantic Ocean. According to DOD, the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) hosts a wide variety of training and testing activities critical to military readiness and our national security.
Oceana’s new maps provide a visual representation of conflicts between Trump administration proposals for expanded offshore drilling activities and current military operation needs identified by DOD, such as undersea warfare training and air-to-surface bombing. Oceana’s analysis determined that DOD has classified an estimated 94 percent of the waters off Virginia’s coast and an estimated 78 percent of the waters off Georgia’s coast as largely incompatible with offshore drilling due to longstanding military operations.
“The Department of Defense could not be more clear – offshore drilling in the Atlantic is a threat to national security,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana. “With an oil surplus and historically low fuel prices, it makes absolutely no sense to put East Coast communities, state economies and national security at risk, all for less than five months worth of oil.”
Although the Atlantic Ocean was removed from the proposed five-year plan for offshore leasing in March 2016 and all pending permits for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic were denied in January 2017, both are now back on the table (as well as new areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific and Arctic oceans), following an executive order from the Trump administration in April.
“Since January, opposition to offshore drilling activities in the Atlantic has continued to grow and become even more diverse,” said Hoskins. “Offshore drilling on its own is a dirty and dangerous business. When you add the extremely loud process of searching for buried oil and gas deposits, the extensive infrastructure required to pump, move and process it, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, you set the East Coast up for a future of disasters.”
Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation. Additionally, DOD spending amounted to $53 billion in Virginia and $12.6 billion in Georgia in 2015 alone.
“Changes to areas used for military readiness operations could upend these massive contributions to Virginia and Georgia’s economies,” said Hoskins. “It’s time for Washington to listen to those that have the most to lose from expanding offshore drilling.”
As of today, opposition and concern over seismic airgun blasting and/or offshore drilling includes:
- Governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina
- More than 135 East Coast municipalities
- Nearly 1,200 local, state and federal bipartisan elected officials
- An alliance representing over 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families from Florida to Maine
- The North, South and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils
- Commercial and recreational fishing interests such as the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Fisheries Survival Fund, Southern Shrimp Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and the International Game Fish Association
- NASA, DOD and the Florida Defense Support Task Force
To view the maps, please visit usa.oceana.org/DODMaps
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling activities, please click here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With nearly 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. To learn more about Oceana’s work in the United States, please visit www.usa.oceana.org.