Date: January 5, 2018
From: Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC)
Subject: Businesses organization calls for defunding planning for offshore oil drilling
Contact: Frank Knapp, President/CEO, 803-497-3204 (w), 803-600-6874 (c),
Columbia, SC—The Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) is calling for Congress to include in any final budget deal the defunding of the Department of Interior’s ability to plan and implement a new five-year plan for permitting offshore drilling for oil along any U.S. coastline. BAPAC has over 41,000 business supporters from Maine to Florida and is the leading business organization opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling for oil in the Atlantic.
“Congress does not have an official say in the offshore oil leasing process except for approving the budget for the Department of Interior,” said Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of BAPAC. “We have heard the many Congressional voices of opposition to the Administration’s offshore drilling plans from both parties. Now it is time for these Republican and Democratic members of Congress to act using the only real tool they have—the federal budget.”
The current 2017-2022 five-year oil drilling plan is in effect until a new plan is approved. In March of 2016 the Obama Administration removed the Atlantic from its proposed plan. The Department of Interior press release at that time said:
After an extensive public input process, the sale that was proposed in the Draft Proposed Program in the Mid- and South Atlantic area has been removed from the program. Many factors were considered in the decision to remove this sale from the 2017-2022 program including: significant potential conflicts with other ocean uses such as the Department of Defense and commercial interests; current market dynamics; limited infrastructure; and opposition from many coastal communities.
“We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast,” added Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior. “When you factor in conflicts with national defense, economic activities such as fishing and tourism, and opposition from many local communities, it simply doesn’t make sense to move forward with any lease sales in the coming five years.”
“We are less that two years since the last five-year plan was approved after considerable deliberation,” said Knapp. “Nothing has changed since then that would indicate that now we must drill for oil everywhere off the U.S continental shelf. But we have seen much more opposition to offshore drilling on both the Atlantic and Pacific Coast. Coastal businesses know that drilling for oil leads to leaks and spills that will harm our vibrant tourism, commercial fishing and recreation local economies.”