DearColleague.us

Letter

 

Sending Office: Honorable Alan S. Lowenthal
Sent By:
Rachel.Gentile@mail.house.gov

 

Request for Signature(s)

Tell Secretary Zinke to keep the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans off-limits to new oil and gas leases

DEADLINE TO SIGN ON: Thursday, May 4, COB

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in signing a bipartisan letter to Secretary Zinke asking him to not consider oil and gas lease sales in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans under the terms of an executive order expected to be signed April 28. The executive order directs
the Department of the Interior to review and potentially re-start the oil and gas lease sale planning process, which was recently completed in January to cover the years 2017 through 2022.

Thanks to years of the effort from coastal Members of Congress, state and local governments, coastal businesses, and concerned citizens, the 2017-2022 leasing program protects the Atlantic and Pacific coasts–and the roughly $90 billion tourism
and fishing industries located on those coasts–from oil and gas leasing at least until 2022. Unfortunately, the new executive order puts all of that at risk, and could result in drilling rigs off our coasts and beaches as early as 2019.

We believe it is crucial to make an early and strong statement that President Trump and Secretary Zinke should keep the Atlantic and Pacific coasts protected, and not undo all the work of the past several years.

 

Sincerely,

ALAN LOWENTHAL

FRANK LOBIONDO

MARK SANFORD

ANTHONY BROWN

DAVE REICHERT

DONALD S. BEYER JR.

NIKI TSONGAS

 

 

 

May xx, 2017

The Honorable Ryan Zinke

Secretary of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

Dear Secretary Zinke:

On April 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review where offshore drilling should be occurring and to potentially start a new 5-year planning process for offshore leasing. As
Members of Congress opposed to new oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, we urge you to continue to adhere to the recently approved 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program (Program) and keep the Atlantic and Pacific
OCS Regions off-limits to any new oil and gas lease sales.

The 2017-2022 Program was developed carefully and in full accordance of Section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, starting with a Request for Information published on June 16, 2014, and finishing over two and a half years later with
the signing of the Record of Decision on January 17, 2017. During the process, BOEM received over 3.4 million comments and held 13 public meetings across the country. In recognition of the strong opposition of residents, businesses, and elected officials along
the East and West Coasts, BOEM did not include any new lease sales in either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans in the final Program.

Opposition to new leasing in the Pacific OCS dates back to the 1969 Santa Barbara blowout, which killed thousands of birds and marine mammals and blackened the beaches of Southern California. While the Atlantic seaboard has been spared the direct
impact of an offshore oil blowout, 121 municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials, tens of thousands of businesses, and hundreds of thousands of fishermen from up and down the East Coast have expressed opposition to oil and gas leasing or exploration in
the Atlantic, in recognition of the critical role that clean beaches and oceans play in the economy of the entire region [1] According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tourism and
fishing on the East Coast are responsible for over 1.3 million jobs and support a $63 billion economy. On the West Coast, tourism and fishing support 536,000 jobs and support a $26 billion economy.[2] Importantly,
these are sustainable industries, able to support jobs and regional economies indefinitely into the future provided our oceans and coastlines are managed smartly.  We do not believe that new oil and gas exploration or production activity in the Atlantic and
Pacific OCS is compatible with the sustainable coastal economies on which so many of our constituents and communities depend.

As you conduct a review of our nation’s existing oil and gas leases, we again strongly urge you to reject proposals to open the Atlantic and Pacific OCS Regions to new offshore drilling and exploration. We look forward to working with you during
your tenure as Secretary, and thank you for your attention to this letter.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

cc: Walter Cruickshank, Acting Director, BOEM

 


[1] A more comprehensive list of organizations, towns, and officials opposed to drilling in the Atlantic is available at

http://usa.oceana.org/climate-and-energy/grassroots-opposition-atlantic-drilling-and-seismic-airgun-blasting

[2] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
Economics: National Ocean Watch, available at
https://www.coast.noaa.gov/enowexplorer/#/
; accessed March 8, 2017.

 

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