This is a guest blog by Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director for Surfrider Foundation. The original post can be found here. SACE is happy to be a partner in helping build grassroots opposition to Atlantic offshore drilling among the business community. In December, we assisted local partner groups Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic and Don’t Drill Lowcountry deliver 400+ business signatures opposing offshore drilling to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
This is what a movement looks like. Last June, a brand new wooden surfboard was signed by Sasha Borlange of the South Beach Dive & Surf Shop in Miami, Florida. In the months that followed, the board journeyed through seven states and visited countless communities on its way to Washington D.C. The surfboard’s mission: to demonstrate the recreation industry’s opposition to oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
Paul Naude, Vissla CEO and board member of the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association, was one of hundreds of industry leaders to lend his support to the campaign. “Our ocean powers a multi-billion dollar industry that is second to none,” said Naude. “We need to advocate for local businesses and the natural resources they depend upon.”
In the trusted care of Surfrider’s D.C. Chapter, the surfboard now sports signatures from restaurants, surf shops, art galleries, hotels, and other coastal businesses opposed to offshore drilling in the Atlantic. From Miami Beach to the Outer Banks to the Delaware shore, coastal businesses are fighting to protect the largest and most sustainable industry on the Atlantic coast (recreation and tourism) and a way a life enjoyed by millions of people.
Members of Congress are also lining up to sign the surfboard. On February 11-12th, the surfboard will visit Capital Hill as part of Coastal Recreation Lobby Day. Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Representative Mark Sanford (SC) have already pledged to add their signatures before it goes to President Obama. In total, lobby day volunteers will meet with nearly 50 legislative offices to ask our federal leaders to protect the Atlantic coast.
On February 16th, the surfboard will be presented to White House officials along with letters signed by over a thousand business asking our nation’s leaders to cancel plans for oil drilling in the Atlantic. Special thanks to the Surfrider chapter network, as well as Environment America, Waterkeeper Alliance, Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, Don’t Drill Lowcountry and others who helped gather business signatures on this issue.
The meetings with our nation’s leaders are timely as the federal government will release its Proposed 5 Five Year Offshore Drilling Plan in the coming weeks. Last year, the administration announced its plans to open up the Mid-and South Atlantic to oil drilling, spurring a grassroots movement of opposition. This spring, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will open a 90 day comment for public input with a final decision scheduled to be made in the fall.
For more info on Coastal Recreation Lobby Day click here.
To visit the Protect the Atlantic campaign click here.