Trump’s Offshore Drilling & Marine Sanctuaries Executive Order Puts Coastal Communities at Risk

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of President Trump’s signing of an executive order that will try to open up more of our oceans to offshore drilling, weaken safety regulations, and launch a review of all national marine sanctuaries designated in the last decade, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) released the following statement condemning the administration’s actions.

“Opening up our oceans to more offshore drilling further proves that Trump isn’t listening to what the American people want and is instead focused on making his billionaire friends working in the oil and gas industry richer,” Grijalva said. “If he took the time to talk to commercial and recreational fishermen, the tourism industry, elected officials from around the country he’d quickly learn that offshore drilling in the Atlantic and the Arctic is an unpopular idea. Even worse is the fact that the President wants to weaken safety regulations put in place after the BP oil spill and Shell’s disastrous attempts to drill in the Arctic. This just increases the chance that coastal communities and pristine shorelines will see more of those kinds of disasters in their backyards.

“Earlier this week Trump issued an executive order that opens up our public lands to a federal review, and now he’s coming after our marine monuments and national marine sanctuaries. This review is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars. I’m confident that when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross holds public meetings in local communities, he’ll learn about the incredible economic and ecological benefits of these areas and will leave them alone,” Grijalva concluded.

“It is unconscionable that the president would even consider this executive order one week after the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in American history,  McEachin said. “Unlike the president, I will never forget the round-the-clock images of millions of gallons of crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico following an offshore blowout – due in large part to industry hubris – that led to the deaths of 11 offshore workers, decimated wildlife, blackened shorelines, and gutted vibrant tourism and fishing industries. Loosening regulations and expanding offshore drilling is a recipe for another disaster, and puts our coastal environment at risk.”

The “fact sheet” provided by the White House makes false claims to justify the needs for the national marine sanctuary review. The following explains why a review is unnecessary, here are the actual facts:

  • Coordination with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is already required through both the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and each of the presidential proclamations creating and expanding the Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The statement that the executive order does not increase conflicts with military uses of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is false. The Navy is on record saying that opening up parts of the Mid-Atlantic to drilling would hinder training operations.
  • The designation and expansion of national marine sanctuaries is driven by a local and regional nominations process. Freezing this process is the antithesis of listening to the people. Further, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act already requires the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to consult with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and to consider energy development.
  • There is no need to review NOAA’s Marine Mammal Acoustic Technical Guidance. The Guidance already had three public comment periods and three external peer reviews over a period of three years before being finalized. Any additional review by this administration is nothing more than tampering with sound science. 

Press Contact

Diane Padilla (Committee)                                                          

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 306-1333      

Jamitress Bowden (McEachin)

(202) 306-0546 or (202) 225-6365