Date: January 4, 2017
From: Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC)
Subject: Over 41,000 businesses call on dropping Atlantic from oil drilling plan
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 sounding the alarm to its 41,000 business supporters about the draft of a Five-Year plan for offshore drilling leases. The plan was released today by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). BAPAC is the leading business organization opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling for oil in the Atlantic
“From Maine to Florida the business community is overwhelmingly opposed to allowing offshore drilling for oil and gas anywhere in the Atlantic,” said Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of BAPAC. “Our supporters represent every facet of our local coastal economies. They understand that our vibrant tourism, commercial fishing and recreation economies are dependent on a healthy ocean.”
On March 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of Interior and BOEM announced their proposal for the Obama Administration’s Five-Year Plan. That plan affirmatively removed the Atlantic from leases for offshore drilling. The Department of Interior press release read as follows as to the Atlantic:
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.”
On August 17, 2017, BAPAC submitted comments to BOEM in opposition to including the Atlantic in a new Five-Year Plan. Those comments concluded:
It is clear that none of the reasons for the 2016 removal of the Mid- and South Atlantic OCD from the 2017-2022 plan have changed. On the contrary, those reasons for removal have grown in importance.
The opposition from the business community is one of the factors that has grown in importance.
“While many of us in the business community met with BOEM prior to March of 2016 to express our opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic, BAPAC hadn’t even been formed yet,” said Mr. Knapp. “The magnitude of business opposition to drilling in the Atlantic for oil and gas is now far more evident. Drilling for oil inevitably leads to leaks and spills. Whether it means spills the size of Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf or just tar balls washing ashore as is the case along the California coast, drilling for oil is simply inconsistent with our Atlantic Coast economy.”
BAPAC will be encouraging the business community to submit comments to BOEM over the next 60 days.