Reps. Huffman, Cunningham Introduce Bipartisan Bicoastal Offshore Drilling Ban

March 28, 2019
The Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act would permanently ban oil and gas leasing off the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) joined freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) in introducing the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act today, new bipartisan legislation to permanently ban oil and gas leasing off both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts that builds on Huffman’s earlier West Coast Ocean Protection Act. The bill will be the subject of a hearing next week at the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

“The Trump administration’s drill-everywhere plan has run into a wave of public opposition. Americans from coast to coast have made it very clear that they do not want to see more oil rigs in their oceans,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, Chair of the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. “The Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act will halt Trump’s oil and gas drilling spree in its tracks, protecting coastal communities and fragile ecosystems from environmental catastrophe. In California, we know that our coastal economies would be placed at unacceptable risk by offshore oil and gas drilling, which threatens the tourism, recreation, and fishing industries. I’m glad to work together with Joe Cunningham on this ongoing effort to block offshore drilling on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and to shield both of our coastlines from dangerous exploitation.”

The bipartisan coastal protection legislation introduced today would prohibit any oil and gas leasing in the Interior Department’s Atlantic or Pacific planning areas. The new bill builds on Huffman’s West Coast Ocean Protection Act, which prohibits oil and gas leasing off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington, and on Cunningham’s Coastal Economies Protection Act that similarly blocked offshore drilling in the eastern U.S. The standalone Huffman bill has attracted the support of 28 Democratic cosponsors from Pacific states.

“I’ve been clear from the very beginning that our beaches, businesses, and way of life should not be for sale. South Carolinians want nothing to do with offshore drilling and the devastating threat it poses to our vibrant natural resources,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC). “I am proud to have the support of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocates, and organizations up and down South Carolina and across both the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead this bipartisan bill across the finish line to ban offshore drilling off our coast once and for all.”

“The administration is trying to further oil and gas interests at an alarming rate, including major expansions of offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This is nothing more than a hand-out to the oil and gas industries and runs counter to health, safety, and environmental safeguards we know must be in place to protect our coastlines. These actions also run counter to the will of the citizens in these coastal communities. I am proud to join with my colleagues in making it perfectly clear to this Administration – there will be no new drilling off our coasts,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

“This smart measure responds to communities and leaders all along our Atlantic and Pacific coasts who strongly oppose offshore drilling.  It would protect those coastal waters and wildlife from the risks of another BP-style disaster, as well as industrial ruin and ongoing harm. This bill deserves the support of everyone who cares about healthy oceans, marine life, our coastal economies and all they support”, said Alexandra Adams, Legislative Director, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.