Our oceans are being blasted every 10 seconds and it's killing marine life -- all in exchange for dirty Southeastern oil. South Carolina could be our chance to stop it, and this week could be a key moment. Donate here to help us run ads to stop the oil exploration, save whales and protect our climate!
Urgent: President Obama could significantly tie the hands of his successor with the upcoming five-year plan for offshore drilling leases. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the Interior Department, is likely to schedule lease sales in January or February for offshore oil and natural gas drilling, and seismic testing -- deadly to whales and dolphins -- could start within weeks off our Southeastern coasts.1
Given the significant environmental and climate impacts of drilling, along with the long time period the plan covers (2017 through 2022), Obama’s under pressure from environmentalists, as well as Big Oil companies. The President will deliver his last State of the Union address tomorrow, and while details of the speech are a closely held secret, he's likely to touch on climate and energy issues. Obama gave a nod to the “keep it in the ground” crowd when he rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But he has yet to explain how his commitment in Paris to cap global warming at 1.5-2 degrees Celsius and make climate change part of his legacy fits with an expansion of offshore oil drilling in the Southeast.
No state will be more impacted by his decision than South Carolina, where more than 400 businesses last week asked Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to oppose offshore drilling. Haley is also scheduled to speak tomorrow night, and deliver the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union. She's also under pressure from a growing movement to oppose offshore drilling, after the federal government included four southeastern states in its five-year plan for energy development off the Atlantic coast.2
This is our moment! Donate here to help us raise $2,000 before tomorrow night's speeches and show Nikki Halley, President Obama and everyone that we want an immediate halt to offshore oil exploration in the Southeast!
Offshore drilling is even being talked about in the 2016 presidential election. South Carolina hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, but opposition to offshore drilling is increasingly a bipartisan issue. Both Republican and Democratic voters, especially along the coast, are opposed.2 Many of the Republican candidates haven’t come out one way or another on offshore drilling. Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are opposed to any new offshore drilling, and Hillary Clinton recently said that she is “skeptical” of some of the new leases off of the southern Atlantic coast.4 For all of them, a statement from the President or the Governor of South Carolina opposing offshore drilling, or seismic testing and exploration for oil, could be a game changer.
It’s not even clear how much oil and gas there is off the Eastern seaboard where seismic testing would be most intensively used. Previous studies by Big Oil have ignored the fact that the Atlantic coast is already home to a $15 billion-a-year ocean economy built on tourism and sustainable fisheries. All of which is put in jeopardy by oil and gas development.3
This is our moment to raise our voices and stop it! The expanded use of seismic testing could devastate marine life, harming fisheries and coastal economies, especially in South Carolina. But if we act fast, we can dial up the volume on this issue right when Governor Haley and President Obama are due to be listening. Donate $5 or $10 before tomorrow night to show Nikki Halley, President Obama and everyone that we want an immediate halt to offshore oil exploration and then share with your networks through social media and email.
Thank you for everything you do,
Sally and the Save the Whales and Our Oceans Team at Environmental Action
1. Cama, Timothy. Obama's offshore drilling moves could tie hands of successor. The Hill. January 2, 2016.
2. Fretwell, Sammy. Small businesses ask Haley to join fight against oil and gas search, The State, December 16, 2015
3. Warrick, Joby. As decision nears, opposition builds to offshore drilling along Atlantic Coast. The Washington Post. December 20, 2015.
4. Parks, MaryAlice. Democratic Presidential Candidates: Where They Agree and Disagree on Climate. ABC News. December 17, 2015.