68 coastal national parks could be susceptible to oil spills as a result of offshore drilling.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced the agency’s plan to indefinitely postpone their proposal which was widely expected to expand offshore drilling operations to most coastal states throughout the country. This announcement comes as a response to the recent decision by a federal circuit court judge to uphold a previous ban on drilling within the Arctic Ocean and sections of the Atlantic Coast.
The Department of the Interior was expected to soon release its final plan of the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The draft plan had called for opening up coastlines throughout the United States to offshore drilling operations. These coasts are home to 68 national park sites including significant cultural sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Cabrillo National Monument, and national seashores including Point Reyes and Cape Hatteras that attract millions of annual visitors and serve as havens for birds, sea turtles, whales and other wildlife.
A 2018 report by the National Parks Conservation Association and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examined the impacts of offshore drilling to our 68 coastal national park sites. In 2017 alone, the parks welcomed more than 84 million visitors, who spent more than $4.5 billion in local communities and supported 59,517 jobs. These coastal parks are simply too valuable to put at risk.
Statement by Matt Kirby, Director of Energy and Landscape Conservation for the National Parks Conservation Association:
“Today’s announcement by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that the administration will shelve its offshore drilling plan is a major, temporary win for our 68 coastal national park sites, but the future remains uncertain. At this point, it is only a delay of a plan that has faced widespread opposition from governors, members of Congress, local elected officials, coastal communities, and most recently the courts for the threats it poses to communities, tourism economies and national parks. The National Parks Conservation Association remains vigilant in our work to protect national parks from this administration’s efforts to rollback regulations and advance energy development at all costs.”
About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100