Oceana today announced renewed support from The Orton Foundation for its campaign to protect the Atlantic Coast from offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting. In July, The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon in 1992 provided Oceana with a $60,000 grant to support its mid-Atlantic campaign, deepening an 11-year partnership between the two organizations. The Orton Foundation has provided $210,000 in grants in the last three years for Oceana’s campaign to protect Atlantic coastal communities and economies as well as marine habitats and species from the threats of offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting. Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) rely on healthy ocean ecosystems. In North Carolina alone, fishing, tourism and recreation support roughly 51,000 jobs and generate nearly $2.2 billion in annual GDP.
“Oceana’s proven record of mobilizing individuals, organizations, businesses and government officials to protect marine life and habitats and block oil and gas exploration and drilling is crucial to preserving and protecting North Carolina’s vibrant coastal communities,” said Ann Colley, Executive Director and Vice President of The Moore Charitable Foundation and affiliates. “The United States must make the important transition to a more sustainable energy future. Our victories to stop the expansion of offshore drilling into the Atlantic Ocean will protect the ocean and marine life and benefit local economies – from recreation to tourism to fisheries — for generations to come."
Industrial offshore drilling, never before conducted in the American Atlantic, puts hundreds of coastal communities at risk from damaging and costly accidents, spills and fires. Its precursor, seismic airgun blasting, exploratory tests requested by oil companies to determine the presence of hydrocarbons beneath the ocean’s surface, is an extremely loud and dangerous process that the government estimates could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals in the Atlantic, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which only 500 remain.
“The Orton Foundation’s support for Oceana’s campaign against offshore drilling over the past three years has been invaluable to building momentum and gaining support for this important issue,” said Jacqueline Savitz, Senior Vice President, United States, Oceana. “We thank The Orton Foundation for its continued dedication to this critical campaign. Oceana is moving forward with an aggressive strategy to defend our victories and protect our oceans.”
Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling began in 2014 with the establishment of a grassroots movement in North Carolina that spurred collaborative action among coastal communities to engage residents, business leaders, lawmakers and elected officials to oppose offshore drilling.
Oceana achieved major victories in March 2016 and January 2017 when the former administration formally removed the Atlantic Ocean from the five-year program for offshore drilling and denied all pending permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, respectively. Oceana remains committed to defending these policies at the local, state and federal levels, particularly in light of the executive order in April calling for a review of the current five-year program. In July 2017, the campaign gained another significant victory in North Carolina when Governor Roy Cooper reversed the former governor’s state policy to promote energy exploration in ocean waters.
“Oceana applauds Governor Cooper for his opposition to offshore drilling off the state of North Carolina, and we are confident this success will build momentum for our campaign in the state and at the federal level,” said Randy Sturgill, Oceana’s Senior Campaign Organizer.
About The Orton Foundation
The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon in 1992 supports conservation nonprofits that protect threatened landscapes, habitats and water bodies. The Orton Foundation also supports health services, education and community programs in the region. Dedicated to achieving environmental conservation through highly strategic and targeted action, The Moore Charitable Foundation has been vital to advancing Oceana’s campaigns. For over a decade, the Foundation’s partnership and vision have helped Oceana win victories that have significantly benefited our oceans – and more victories are within reach.
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