Our coasts are under grave threat from the Trump administration catering to fossil fuel companies. The land under the ocean off of our coasts is considered public lands, which means the federal government is in charge of deciding how they are used. Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the federal government decides what offshore areas are open to oil and gas drilling. The federal government also decides where oil and gas companies can use seismic blasting, a practice known to harm marine mammals and other marine life, to explore for reserves of oil and gas under the ocean floor.
President Trump’s Executive Order, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” aims to vastly expand the areas open to offshore drilling – in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, and the already embattled Gulf of Mexico. The order requires agencies to prioritize fossil fuel interests above all else when deciding whether to create marine sanctuaries, and even rolls back safeguards that were put into place in response to the devastating Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of this order, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has begun the process to allow more exploration and drilling. At the same time, Congress has responded to this order with a number of bills on offshore drilling, some seeking to aid it and others aimed at stopping its advancement.
Offshore drilling companies have proven that they can not be trusted to operate safely and responsibly. The Gulf of Mexico continues to be plagued by small but frequent oil spills, and the Taylor Energy oil leak – which has been ongoing for over a decade – has been declared “unstoppable” by the company. Oil spills and other leaks have devastating impacts on marine life and coastal economies, and coastal communities have broadly opposed drilling off their shores through municipal moratoriums and other actions. Furthermore, to avoid catastrophic climate change, we need to keep a vast majority of our fossil fuels in the ground. We must transition away from fossil fuel extraction, not increase it.
This week, please call your Members of Congress and request that they oppose the expansion of offshore drilling:
“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of ZIP code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling today to express my concern about expanding offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. Our offshore areas belong to the public, and should be managed in the way that benefits the most of us. Expanding offshore drilling will only help fossil fuel companies, while putting coastal communities and our global climate at risk. Therefore, I am asking you to push back against efforts by the Administration to expand offshore drilling and seismic blasting. I know that there are a number of bills introduced in Congress on offshore drilling, and I hope that you will lend your support to those that that will halt the expansion of drilling. Thank you for standing up for our oceans and our future.”
Tip: Your message will be even more impactful if you you include a personalized example of why you are opposed to offshore drilling.