Win for the Coast

Education, Environmental

Posted on March 22nd, 2016

Win for the Coast

Offshore Oil Drilling in Atlantic Banned

cropped-dontdrillNC3In an unexpected reversal, the Obama administration abandoned plans to open up drilling for oil in the Atlantic. This decision came on the heels of increased pressure by eastern US coastal communities that opposed drilling. According to Oceana, 110 East Coast municipalities, as well as more than 100 Members of Congress, 700 state and local elected officials and 1,100 business interests that have all publicly opposed offshore drilling and seismic airgun use. In North Carolina, Representatives Walter B. Jones and David Price signed onto a letter with 31 other members of Congress documenting their concerns over the use of seismic air guns.

After issuing a draft proposal in January of 2015, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its 5-year plan on March 15th that bars drilling in the Atlantic. The plan, however, does propose to increase leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Artic Ocean. Along with its new proposal, BOEM also released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that examines the program’s potential impacts on the environment. The five-year plan will be open for comment until June 16, 2016, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will be released March 18 2016, will be open for comment until May 2, 2016.

While BOEM seems to have pulled the plug on offshore drilling for the near term, many advocates continue the push to stop seismic blasting, the process used by energy companies to search for oil and gas deposits located deep below the ocean floor. Sound Rivers signed onto a letter in October 2015 to BOEM that included new information regarding the harms of seismic testing.

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