Trump Re-Opens the Atlantic to Offshore Drilling
On April 28, President Trump ordered the review of the five year program for offshore oil and gas development, signing yet another pro-fossil fuels executive order aimed at undoing the recently granted protections for large parts of our oceans from oil drilling.
The Mid and South Atlantic was eliminated from the federal leasing plan for 2017-2022 finalized in November 2016, whereas the Obama administration's 'permanent' ban was limited to certain areas in Alaska and the northern canyons off the coast of New England and the Chesapeake Bay, which were protected "due to their critical and irreplaceable ecological value." Whatever South Carolina's offshore seabed is lacking compared to those northern canyons, its coastal treasures more than make up for it: the Santee River Delta, the unique estuarine habitats of the ACE Basin and Winyah Bay, and the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge, to name a few. Of course, compelling business reasons compound the rationale for banning drilling off our coast for good.
Even preliminary seismic "testing" would be devastating enough for our marine resources and related economic activities to warrant a permanent halt on drilling in the Atlantic. We have challenged seismic permits before in the SC Administrative Law Court and we are ready to fight them again all the way to Washington, DC.