President Obama and Interior Secretary Jewell,
We, the undersigned businesses and groups of the coastal recreation and tourism sector, are strongly opposed to offshore drilling and seismic exploration in the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Coastal recreation and tourism are major economic drivers for our communities and the nation as a whole. The expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf would pose a major threat to our natural resources, economy, and way of life. Oil and gas development would cause ecological harm through both seismic exploration and drilling operations. If a major oil spill were to occur, the environment that supports our industry would be severely damaged and the quality of life of both residents and visitors would be significantly degraded.
Moreover, the Atlantic and Gulf coast regions have not had the opportunity to develop regional ocean plans for their adjacent waters. Provided for in Executive Order 13547, such ocean planning allows government agencies, tribes, stakeholder groups, and the public to participate in science-based planning for the future conservation and development of the ocean. Approving new oil and gas development now undermines the National Ocean Policy and regional ocean planning efforts.
As stewards of our nation’s public resources and coastal economies, we ask for your leadership in protecting the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico planning areas from scheduled lease sales in the 2017 - 2022 Oil and Gas Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Leasing Program.