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Offshore Drilling Talking Points

What’s At Stake

President Trump and his fossil fuel allies in Congress are attempting to expand dangerous new oil and gas drilling off America’s shores -- threatening our coasts, our communities and our clean energy future. The Trump administration is seeking to expose huge swaths of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans to drilling, and may even push to allow drilling in the Pacific Ocean and along the eastern Gulf Coast, scrapping the just-completed federal government’s five-year plan that excluded drilling in those areas through 2022 and overturning permanent protections for our unspoiled public waters. The current leasing plan was finalized after an exhaustive, multi-year process, including the submission of more than 1.4 million comments from the public, and President Obama acted to permanently remove the majority of the Arctic Ocean and 31 vibrant, deep sea canyons in the Atlantic from all future drilling.

What We Want

Target: U.S. Congress

Message: Senator/Representative, I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the Trump administration’s dangerous plans to expand offshore oil and gas drilling along large sections of America’s coasts. Expanding offshore drilling threatens our communities and whales and other marine life with catastrophic oil spills, blocks our path to a clean energy future and keeps us shackled to the heavily polluting fossil fuels of the past, while doing nothing to make us more energy independent.

Congress has the power to stop this dangerous offshore drilling proposal, and the majority of Americans want our coasts to remain protected. Please defend the American people, not the oil companies, and use your authority to oppose any attempts to expand drilling for oil and gas off our shores. Thank you.

Talking Points


1. Experts say an oil spill would be inevitable. Offshore drilling threatens our oceans, marine wildlife and coastal communities with the risk of catastrophic oil spills. The Interior Department estimates a 75% chance of a major oil spill in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea from just a single lease sale. More drilling would also release more climate-warming pollution into the air, setting us back in our fight against climate change, slowing America's transition to clean energy and keeping us beholden to dirty fossil fuels.


2. Communities, businesses and citizens have already expressed their strong opposition to risky drilling off America’s coasts. The current five-year plan was finalized less than a year ago after an exhaustive, multi-year process that included extensive public input: activists submitted more than 1.4 million public comments opposing offshore drilling, members of the House and Senate expressed their concerns, and thousands of coastal communities, municipalities and businesses declared their opposition to drilling and seismic testing. In addition, scientific research proved that the risk of oil spills from drilling off our shores were too severe and not in the best interest of health and safety of the American people.


3. The Trump administration and its pro-polluter allies in Congress would rather ignore science, the public and experts in favor of handing a windfall to the oil industry.


4. Drilling in these areas will cause undue harm to our communities and our oceans, threatening whales, dolphins, fish and other marine wildlife, jeopardizing coastal economies and endangering shoreline communities with the risk of a catastrophic oil spill. The Arctic is one of our last and greatest unspoiled wild places. No oil company has ever successfully drilled for oil in the pristine, wildlife-filled public waters of the Arctic Ocean despite an expensive and near-catastrophic attempt by Shell Oil to explore for oil there in 2012, when a Shell drilling rig ran aground in a storm. Drilling here would threaten one of our planet’s most fragile, remote ecosystems, home to polar bears, whales, seals and countless other species of Arctic wildlife, as well as threaten the way of life of Alaskan Native residents. The Arctic is already warming five times faster than the rest of the world; drilling here would only serve to worsen these climate impacts. What’s more, the Coast Guard has said that an oil spill in this remote environment would be nearly impossible to clean up.


5. The Atlantic Ocean has been off the table for drilling for more than 30 years. Its incredibly rich marine ecosystems are the primary economic driver for hundreds of communities up and down the coast that rely on fishing, tourism and recreation for their livelihoods. In 2014, the U.S. Atlantic Ocean economy contributed more than $92 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. More than 60 percent of that value is from tourism, recreation, and the fishing and seafood industries. These money-makers depend on clean water, clean beaches and abundant fish and wildlife. Together, they employ more than 1 million people, supporting 80 percent of all U.S. Atlantic Ocean-based jobs. Atlantic coastal communities and ecosystems would be devastated by the impacts of industrial oil and gas operations and the risk of catastrophic oil spills.


6. America doesn’t need the energy. Risking our coastal environments and economies enriches international oil conglomerates without making us more secure.  Instead of “fueling America,” it would benefit other nations that would consume the energy yielded by drilling.  The fossil fuel industry has stockpiled decades’ worth of oil reserves. Today, there are far less risky energy sources to tap that don’t rely on high liability and continued taxpayer subsidies. We need to draw a line in the sand... and put American jobs and our environment first!


7. Sustainable jobs today are in clean, renewable energy. Investing in offshore drilling today is barreling the U.S. into the past.  Financial resources and industry attention should be focused on strengthening the economy, growing jobs, and remaining a global energy leader.  And that means investing in clean solar and wind energy, increased energy efficiency, battery storage and other modern technologies to power our nation, which would deliver hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.  More renewable energy is a plus for businesses, jobs, and the environment.


8. Bipartisan opposition is growing in response to Trump’s push to expand offshore drilling. U.S. senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle have introduced a number of bills to prevent drilling off America’s coasts. Governors are also weighing in strongly against offshore drilling. Examples can be found here.



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