For decades our coasts were protected from offshore oil drilling. Unfortunately, circumstances changed in 2008 when President Bush lifted a White House moratorium on offshore drilling. Congress later followed suit by allowing a federal ban on drilling to expire. Now, decision makers at the state and federal levels are examining ways to capitalize on the lifted moratorium and erect new platforms along our coastlines.
The Surfrider Foundation is opposed to offshore oil drilling in new areas. Our nation’s oceans, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological treasures that will be polluted by an expansion in offshore oil drilling. Instead of advocating for transient and environmentally harmful ways to meet America’s oil needs, we should seek a comprehensive and environmentally sustainable energy plan that includes energy conservation.
On July 17th, 2014, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced its decision to proceed with extensive seismic airgun testing off the Mid- and South Atlantic coasts. Seismic airgun testing will cause major impacts to marine wildlife and bring the Atlantic coast closer to the risky practice of offshore oil drilling, the same practice that led to the disastrous Deepwater Horizon Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago.
The planned surveys will employ loud and damaging technologies, causing major impacts to marine wildlife and the ecosystem. According to the Department’s own estimates, seismic exploration will injure upwards of 130,000 whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals over the next eight years. The surveys will also impact millions of other animals through disrupting mating, feeding, communication, and migration activities.