Surfrider Foundation analysis shows economic impact of offshore oil drilling.
SAN CLEMENTE, CALIF. – The Trump administration announced plans to expand offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters, threatening recreation, tourism, fishing and other coastal industries, which provide more than 1.4 million jobs and $95 billion GDP along the Atlantic coast alone. The executive order directs the Interior Department to develop a new five-year oil and gas leasing program to consider new areas for offshore drilling. The order also blocks the creation of new national marine sanctuaries and orders a review of all existing sanctuaries and marine monuments designated or expanded in the past ten years.
"Our ocean, waves and beaches are vital recreational, economic and ecological treasures that would be polluted by an increase in offshore oil drilling, regardless of whether or not there is a spill," said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. "With today's action, the Trump administration is putting the interests of the oil and gas lobby over the hundreds of communities, thousands of businesses, and millions of citizens who rely on the ocean and coasts for their jobs and livelihoods."
New offshore drilling would threaten thousands of miles of coastline and billions in GDP, for a relatively small amount of oil. Ocean tourism and recreation, worth an estimated $100 billion annually nationwide, provides 12 times the amount of jobs to the U.S. economy, compared to offshore oil production. Even under the best-case scenario, America's offshore oil reserves would provide only about 920 days, or 18 months supply of oil at our current rate of consumption, according to federal agency estimates.
"Tourism drives our local economy, and the approval of offshore drilling poses a huge threat to the livelihood and quality of life in our beach community," said Nicole D.C. Kienlen, Tourism Director of Bradley Beach, New Jersey. "The effects would be devastating on multiple levels."
Even when there are no accidents, offshore oil drilling seriously pollutes our water and food supply at every stage. The ground penetration, the drilling, the rigs, and the transportation tankers all release toxic chemicals and leaked oil. The standard process of drilling releases thousands of gallons of polluted water into the ocean. High concentrations of metals have been found around drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and have been shown to accumulate in fish, mussels and other seafood.
"The Trump administration wants to pour money in to a sinking ship with relatively small return, instead of supporting growth industries like coastal tourism and renewable energy that are adding jobs to our economy," said Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation. "We will stand up for what's best for the nation, and our oceans, by fighting new offshore drilling off our coasts."
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