House Approves Appropriations Amendments to Block Expansion of Offshore Drilling, Exploration

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 21, 2019 – The House of Representatives voted to adopt amendments that would block the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration off hundreds of miles of our nation’s coasts. The amendments are attached to two bills: the FY20 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3055) and the FY20 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill (H.R. 3052).

Three amendments adopted to H.R. 3052, by Rep. Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Carbajal (D-CA), and Rep. Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) (#88, #26, and #95 respectively) bar the use of Department of the Interior funds for offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf Coast respectively. Additionally, an adopted amendment by Rep. Cunningham (D-SC) (#18) bars the use of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) funds to allow harmful seismic airgun blasting.

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On H.R. 3055, an adopted amendment by Rep. Cunningham (D-SC) (#29) bars the use of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funds to allow harmful seismic airgun blasting. An additional approved amendment by Rep. Huffman (D-CA) (#45) prevents NOAA from moving forward with administrative efforts to weaken states’ review of offshore drilling related federal permits.

The votes on these amendments were the first time the 116th Congress voted on legislation to block offshore drilling and exploration and follows a decades long tradition of offshore moratoriums in the Interior-Environment Appropriations funding bill. A broad coalition of bipartisan stakeholders support blocking the expansion of offshore exploration and drilling, including every East and West Coast governor and over 2,200 elected officials.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, The Sierra Club, Surfrider, The National Parks Conservation Association, and Native Movement offered the following statement in response:

“Our federal budget reflects our values as a nation. This decisive action by the House of Representatives to block funding to advance offshore drilling activities supports healthy communities, oceans, national parks, climate and marine life. We cannot allow the oil and gas industry to boost its profits while our environment and coastal economies suffer the consequences of devastating oil spills.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.usa.oceana.org to learn more.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains more than a million supporters, activists and members, with over 170 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 500 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations.

Native Movement – Alaska Organization provides support for grassroots-led projects that endeavor to ensure Indigenous Peoples’ rights, the rights of Mother Earth, and the building of healthy and sustainable communities for all.