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Rep. Beyer Urges Trump Administration To Keep Atlantic And Pacific Oceans Off-Limits To New Oil And Gas Leases

Vice-Ranking Member of the House Science Committee Rep. Don Beyer last week led a bipartisan group of more than 100 Members of the House of Representatives in urging Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to keep Atlantic and Pacific oceans off-limits to new oil and gas leases.

The Representatives wrote:

“We do not believe that new oil and gas exploration or production activity in the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf is compatible with the sustainable coastal economies on which so many of our constituents and communities depend.

”As you conduct a review of our nation’s existing oil and gas leases, we again strongly urge you to reject proposals to open the Atlantic and Pacific OCS Regions to new offshore drilling and exploration.”

Beyer recently introduced the Seismic Airgun Protection Act to protect marine life and coastal economies from seismic airgun blasting, and is the cosponsor of legislation to ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

The letter notes that the tourism and fishing industries, both directly threatened by offshore drilling accidents, are a $63 billion economy supporting 1.3 million jobs on the U.S. East Coast and a $26 billion economy supporting 536,000 jobs on the West Coast.

The letter--signed by over 100 Members of Congress--is co-led by Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Mark Sanford (R-SC), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).

Secretary Zinke is currently examining the United States offshore oil and gas leasing program pursuant to the terms of an executive order signed by President Trump on April 28. The executive order directed the DOI to review and potentially re-start the oil and gas lease sale planning process—possibly including the Atlantic or Pacific oceans—which the Obama

Administration completed in January covering the years 2017 through 2022.

Full text of the letter is available here.