In Grassroots Victory, Obama Administration Protects Virginia and the Atlantic Coast from Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Obama administration today released an updated draft five-year plan for oil and gas development in federal waters that would keep drilling off limits in the Atlantic, protecting coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia. This decision, a dramatic reversal from the administration’s previous plan, responds to the widespread and vocal opposition of more than 110 East Coast communities, more than 700 state and local elected officials, more than 1,000 business interests, and thousands of citizens.

Advocates have underlined that any new drilling in our oceans would usher in unacceptable risks to coastal economies while worsening global warming.

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement in response:

“This is a great step forward for Virginia’s coast and our climate. Thanks to the strong and sustained opposition of coastal cities, business leaders, and citizens, the Atlantic coast will remain safe from oil rigs for years to come. This decision will prevent disastrous oil spills while helping to protect our vulnerable coast from rising sea levels. As rising waters flood Virginia’s coast on a routine basis, we need to be investing 100% in clean energy, not digging an even deeper hole of pollution.

“Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, the county governments on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, business and local leaders across Hampton Roads, and thousands of regular citizens deserve credit for telling the Obama administration ‘no’ to new drilling off Virginia’s coast. Thankfully, their call was heard above that of Governor McAuliffe, who stood on the wrong side of this decision. We urge Governor McAuliffe to stand up for our coast and climate now by affirming his support for President Obama’s decision.

“Ultimately, new drilling anywhere threatens our coastlines everywhere, which is why President Obama must remove the Arctic from his next draft plan, along with any new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Climate leadership requires keeping fossil fuels in the ground, period.”

Contact:
Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022, kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org
Harrison Wallace, 804-305-1472, harrison@chesapeakeclimate.org

###

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the biggest and oldest grassroots organization dedicated to fighting climate change in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. CCAN is building a powerful movement to shift our region away from climate-harming fossil fuels and to clean energy solutions: www.chesapeakeclimate.org.