Press Releases

Atlantic Coast Members of Congress Thank Obama for Decision To Remove Atlantic States From Offshore Drilling Program

Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) led 49 other Members of Congress in writing to thank President Obama for the Department of the Interior’s decision to remove the Atlantic Ocean from the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program.  The decision removes the Atlantic from any offshore drilling plans until 2022.

“Offshore drilling poses tremendous risks to our coastal environment and economy.  President Obama and Secretary Jewell know that it is not the key to our energy future,” said Rep. Beyer.  “I applaud the Obama Administration for its willingness to listen to our constituents’ concerns to keep our coast ecologically sound.”

“I appreciate the administration taking into account the voices of countless business owners, fishermen, and concerned residents in New Jersey,” said Rep. Pallone. “Drilling in the Atlantic Ocean is a risk-reward proposition: coastal communities face all of the risk so that Big Oil can reap all of the reward.  We need to continue to reject efforts to drill along our coastline, and to transition to cleaner and more efficient energy sources along our cost. That’s why I introduced the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act, which prohibits the Department of the Interior from issuing any lease for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the Atlantic.”

Beyer and Pallone wrote Interior Secretary Sally Jewel in February 2015 and March 2016 urging her to block the drilling proposal, which would have jeopardized nearly 1.4 million coastal jobs and $95 billion in gross domestic product dependent on a clean, safe, and ecologically vibrant Atlantic Ocean.

Separately, Beyer joined Virginia Reps. Gerry Connolly (D) and Bobby Scott (D) in a letter to Secretary Jewell in February of 2015 outlining the dangers from drilling off the Virginia coast.

“Oceana applauds Reps. Beyer and Pallone for their leadership in protecting the Atlantic Ocean from offshore drilling,” said Claire Douglass, campaign director at Oceana. “President Obama and other elected officials are listening to the voices of the citizens from more than 110 East Coast municipalities that have publically opposed offshore drilling activities.” 

The long-term environmental consequences of drilling dwarf any economic gains from the offshore rigs.

The full text of their letter follows:


April 22, 2016


President Barack Obama      

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear Mr. President:

We the undersigned Members of Congress write to thank you and the Department of the Interior (DOI) for removing the Atlantic Ocean lease sale from the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program.

On behalf of our constituents and all those opposed to offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, we thank you for recognizing that offshore drilling along the East Coast is an unnecessary risk to our coastal economies and incompatible with important existing coastal activities, and we hope that the DOI will take the necessary steps to prevent any offshore drilling in these regions in the future.  Nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product are generated by healthy ocean ecosystems from tourism, fisheries, and coastal recreation. Additionally, Atlantic drilling could potentially impede ongoing military and space exploration activities along the coast. Your Administration listened to more than 110 East Coast municipalities, as well as to the concerns of more than 850 federal, state, and local elected officials and 1,100 business interests that have publically opposed offshore development.

Our nation has seen the devastation that comes from offshore drilling. From the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, to the chronic leaks happening on a daily basis from wells and infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, to failed infrastructure like that which caused the Santa Barbara disaster, oil spills do not respect state boundaries and pose grave risks to coastal communities and marine life.

We appreciate the Administration’s willingness to listen to our constituents and protect the healthy oceans that are our economic drivers and crucial to our coastal ways of life.




Donald S. Beyer Jr.                                                     Frank Pallone, Jr.

Alan Lowenthal                                                          Gerald E. Connolly

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson                                          Ted Deutch

Jim Langevin                                                               Eleanor Holmes Norton

Katherine Clark                                                           Raúl M. Grijalva

Corrine Brown                                                            Donald Norcross

Donna F. Edwards                                                      Chris Van Hollen

G. K. Butterfield                                                        Lois Frankel

Sam Farr                                                                      Alan Grayson

Alcee L. Hastings                                                       Bonnie Watson Coleman

Patrick E. Murphy                                                       John Carney

Seth Moulton                                                              Paul D. Tonko

Matt Cartwright                                                          Jared Huffman

Kathy Castor                                                               Maxine Waters

Barbara Lee                                                                 Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Mark Pocan                                                                 Jan Schakowsky

Mike Quigley                                                              Niki Tsongas

Scott Peters                                                                 Robert C. “Bobby” Scott

James P. McGovern                                                    Lois Capps

John Sarbanes                                                             C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Chaka Fattah                                                               David E. Price

William R. Keating                                                     John Delaney

Albio Sires                                                                  John B. Larson

Elijah E. Cummings                                                    Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Alma S. Adams                                                           Earl Blumenauer

Gwen Graham