The faith community has rallied together with small businesses, concerned citizens, and local, state, and federal legislators to stop offshore drilling along the U.S.’ southeast coast. Today, those efforts bore fruit when President Obama announced that the Interior Department will not auction off drilling rights in the Atlantic Ocean. This is an important move for many reasons: by blocking big oil companies from drilling, clean energy solutions are promoted. Oil spills and coastal industrialization will be minimized, and coastal ecosystems are protected.
For faith leaders and for the faith community, who have been consistent in their efforts against offshore drilling, this also reaffirms that our faithful acts count, and that we can make a difference. By adding our voices and our convictions to the climate cause, we can help guide America towards transformative climate solutions.
The Obama administration is reversing a plan to allow oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, after an uproar from local communities over environmental concerns.
"We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.
Georgia Public Broadcasting's Emily Jones tells our Newscast unit that this is a reversal from a draft proposal issued in January 2015:
"The Department of Defense, environmental groups and more than a hundred coastal communities objected to the drilling proposal. They argued drilling would conflict with Navy and commercial fishing activity, and endanger wildlife."
The Interior Department says the original plan received more than a million comments. The proposal included a lease area that started 50 miles off the coast and stretched from Virginia to Georgia. It would have allowed drilling starting from 2021.
The original proposal allowing drilling in the Atlantic was billed by the Interior Department as a "balanced approach" and included protections for land in Alaska, as NPR's Mara Liasson reported. She adds: "That seemingly contradictory package of drilling regulations had environmentalists cheering and jeering at the same time."