Sending Office: Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.
Request for Signature(s)
NEW Deadline COB Wednesday, August 2
Current co-signers: Pallone, Sanford, Connolly, LoBiondo, Price, Velazquez, Sarbannes, Tsongas, Wasserman Schultz, Beyer, “Hank” Johnson, Norcross, Crist, Grijalva, Crowley, Keating, Jones, Ellison, Suozzi, Pascrell, Langevin, Serrano, McGovern,
“Bobby” Scott, Yarmuth, McNerney, Pingree, Cleaver, Huffman, Tonko, McCollum, Lowenthal, Shea-Porter, McEachin, Evans, Polis, Butterfield, Blumenauer, Gallego, Cartwright, Boyle, Adams, Lofgren, Welch, Schakowsky, Lee,
We invite you to join our bipartisan letter to Interior Secretary Zinke to express strong opposition to expanded oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Last month, the Interior Department issued a Request for Information to
begin developing a new National Leasing Plan, which could allow for oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico in a 2019-2024 leasing plan.
Last year, the Department of the Interior released the final version of the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil (OCS) and Gas Leasing Program, which included protections for the Atlantic Coast. This was in large part due to the almost unanimous opposition
to offshore drilling along the entire Eastern Seaboard. More than 125 local governments have passed formal resolutions opposing oil and gas exploration and/or drilling in the Atlantic or Eastern Gulf, joining 41,000 businesses, 500,00 commercial fishing families,
numerous local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, and commercial and recreational fishing associations. Moreover, the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, U.S. Air Force, NASA, Florida Defense Support
Task Force, and the Department of Defense have detailed how allowing drilling in these regions could hamper our military readiness and national security.
The economic, environmental, and national security risks posed by oil and gas development are well documented. Please consider signing onto this letter to oppose opening up the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico to expanded oil and gas leasing. Should
you have any questions regarding the letter, or if you would like to sign on, please contact Mike Rogers (email@example.com) in Rep. Pallone’s office, Cameron Morabito in Rep. Sanford’s office
(Cameron.firstname.lastname@example.org), Jamie Smith in Rep. Connolly’s office (Jamie.Smith@mail.house.gov), Matt Moran in Rep. LoBiondo’s office (email@example.com),
or Emily Richardson in Rep. Price’s office (Emily.Richardson@mail.house.gov).
Frank Pallone, Jr. Mark Sanford Gerald E. Connolly Frank A. LoBiondo David E. Price
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress
July xx, 2017
Secretary Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C St NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Secretary Zinke,
We are writing to express our strong opposition to oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. We are responding to the July 3rd Request for Information on the preparation of a new five-year National Outer Continental
Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2022.
The vitality of our coastal economies is inextricably tied to healthy ocean ecosystems. We are unwilling to accept the tremendous risks, which vastly outweigh the potential gains of oil and gas drilling and development in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of
Mexico. Currently, healthy ocean ecosystems along the East Coast support more than $95 billion in gross domestic product and nearly 1.4 million jobs annually through fishing, recreation and tourism.
We hear from countless business owners, elected officials and residents along our coasts who recognize and reject the risks of offshore oil and gas development. More than 120 local governments have passed formal resolutions opposing oil and gas exploration
and/or drilling in the Atlantic or Eastern Gulf, as do numerous local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, commercial and recreational fishing associations, and the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.
More than 41,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families have joined together to strongly oppose offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. Further, the Department of Defense, the Air Force, NASA, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force have
also expressed concerns that offshore oil and gas development would threaten their ability to perform critical activities.
Expanding offshore drilling into the Atlantic and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico would significantly risk our military readiness and national security. Operations such as Strike Group transit and training, tactical training, drone launch/recovery hazard areas,
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) live fire, anti-submarine warfare exercises, live air-to-surface ordinance operations, and more have resulted in the Department of Defense restricting 123,803 square nautical miles of Atlantic
OCS from oil and gas activity. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) asserts that the presence of temporary or fixed structures
at or below the sea surface would have significant detrimental effects on their ability to conduct aerospace test activities. In fact, even the temporary presence of support ships or aircraft can result in mandatory range safety criteria not being met, leading
to missed launch opportunities such as resupply missions to the International Space Station.
The Department of Defense’s activities are also pervasive in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. According to the USAF Chief of Staff, “the moratorium is essential for developing and sustaining the Air Force’s future combat capabilities.” The
Florida Defense Support Task Force states that “drilling east of the Military Mission Line (MML) would mean loss of ranges and possible relocation of aircraft/bases to other unrestricted range areas.” Defense
is Florida’s fourth largest industry, and in northwest Florida, 65% of the regional economy is “considerably dependent on unconstrained access to the eastern Gulf of Mexico airspace and sea space.”
Opening the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling and development jeopardizes our coastal businesses, fishing communities, tourism industry, and our national security. Exploration activities harm our coastal economies in the near term and open the door
to even greater risks from offshore oil and gas production down the road. Therefore, we urge you not to include the Atlantic Ocean or the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in the National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0