Last Chance! Trump Offshore Drilling Comment Period Ends Tomorrow

Chris Carnevale | March 8, 2018 | Energy Policy, Offshore Drilling
Deepwater Horizon in Flames
Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Tomorrow, Friday, March 9, marks the end of the comment period on President Trump’s new “drill-everywhere” offshore drilling plan. If you haven’t submitted your comments yet, visit the online comment portal here right now and let the Administration know what’s on your mind. Then please click here to send a quick letter to your state and federal elected officials, asking them to help in the fight to protect our coast.

The comment period comes after the announcement earlier this year by the Trump Administration that proposed a far-reaching expansion of offshore drilling to cover about 90% of federal ocean acreage. The entire Southeast coast–including the Atlantic, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Straits of Florida–were included, as close as just three miles from shore. For so many reasons, this “drill-everywhere plan” is absolutely unacceptable.

There simply isn’t a reasonable explanation for this proposed expansion of offshore drilling.

Poor Economics

The economic risk of the “drill-everywhere” offshore drilling plan significantly outweighs any potential economic benefits. Along the Southeast coast, from the Gulf shores of Florida all the way around to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, our coastal economies rely upon clean beaches and healthy ocean ecosystems which would be jeopardized by offshore drilling. Coastal tourism, for example, generates tens of billions of dollars in the Southeast. Yet it would only take one bad oil spill to deprive lots of mom-and-pop businesses enough seasonal tourism revenue to cause them to go under.

Are the offshore drilling jobs that would be created in some Southeast communities worth jeopardizing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Southeastern residents who work in coastal tourism?

Modest Potential for Production

Furthermore, even broad expansions of leased areas for offshore drilling wouldn’t necessarily boost actual production that much. Oil companies already have access to huge amounts of onshore oil and gas reserves. With controversial technological advances, such as fracking, oil and gas production has grown dramatically in recent years in the absence of Atlantic drilling, and the cost of oil and gas has dropped. With these kind of economic factors, there would be no business sense in drilling many of the offshore areas that the new drilling plan seeks to lease in the immediate future due to the fact that they would be relatively expensive to drill and would likely offer minimal oil and gas.

Dropping Demand

Meanwhile, an emerging trend that wasn’t as apparent the last time the federal government considered allowing drilling in the Atlantic is that with the meteoric rise of electrified vehicles, top economists and even oil company executives are now saying that global demand for oil will begin to decline within a decade from now. As demand drops, so too will the value of existing oil and gas assets. What would happen to offshore oil wells and pipelines should the economic tide turn and render them less profitable or even unprofitable? Who would pay to make sure that these potential stranded assets don’t become long-lasting sources of environmental contamination?

Since the “drill-everywhere plan” has no clear economic value for the American people but clearly poses huge environmental risks, the plan must be stopped.

Please make sure you comment here by Friday, March 9. And then please click here to contact your elected officials.

Chris Carnevale
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Chris is SACE’s Coastal Climate and Energy Manager and South Carolina State Affairs Liaison. His work focuses on building a critical mass of support for…
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