Grassroots Opposition to Offshore Drilling and Exploration in the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Gulf of Mexico


by Oceana Protecting the World’s Oceans


East Coast communities strongly oppose offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration, including seismic airgun blasting—an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface—because these activities threaten their economic well-being and quality of life.  Along the Atlantic coast, communities rely on healthy ocean ecosystems to support jobs in fishing, recreation and tourism.

As of February 2018, more than 160 East Coast municipalities and over 1,200 local, state and federal elected officials including the Governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, have formally opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. Numerous fishing and tourism interests, including local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, and an alliance representing over 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families from Florida to Maine, also oppose oil exploration and/or development in the Atlantic. The South, Mid-Atlantic, and New England Fishery Management Councils have all expressed concerns about the risks posed by seismic surveys and oil and gas development to managed resources, fisheries and coastal communities along the Atlantic coast. Finally, NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force have all expressed concerns about expanded offshore oil and gas development threatening their ability to perform critical activities.

Click here to view the full size map.

Where the movement began: Kure Beach, North Carolina, a picturesque tourist destination known for its small town atmosphere and the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic coast, was ground zero in the fight against offshore oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. This tiny spit of sand that 2,000 people call home sparked a movement that has spread like wildfire up and down the East Coast. On January 27, 2014, more than 300 residents showed up to protest the mayor’s position on seismic airgun blasting. Check out the video of the meeting, and read more on our blog.

Ever since that fateful night in January, opposition to seismic airgun blasting and Atlantic drilling has been mounting. Members of Congress and East Coast Governors need to hear from the people who will be most affected by seismic blasting and offshore drilling — and that’s where you come in. We have some great momentum, but we’re only going to #StopTheDrill if more of us take up the call, and urge our elected officials to #ProtectOurCoast. Check out all the opposition to offshore oil and gas exploration and development, spread the word and join the movement.

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