For Immediate Release

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Veterans Urge Secretary Zinke Not To Expand Offshore Drilling

Citing Threat to Military Readiness, 1600+ Veterans Call on Zinke to Maintain Existing Restrictions on Drilling

WASHINGTON - Today, a letter signed by 1,669 veterans was delivered to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, expressing opposition to the Trump administration’s plans to revisit the current five-year plan for offshore drilling and urging Zinke to maintain existing protections for our coasts.

The current five-year plan, finalized just last year by President Obama after a multi-year process where millions of Americans weighed in, protects portions of the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and eastern Gulf of Mexico from drilling. Donald Trump signed an executive order this spring directing Interior to revisit the plan with the goal of expanding drilling off our coasts.

Citing reports from the Department of Defense and NASA, the group of veterans raised concerns about the potential for drilling activities to interfere with military testing and training activities in the eastern Gulf and the Atlantic coast, as well as aerospace test activities off the coast of Virginia.

“As a fellow veteran, you understand that military preparedness and the ability to fight and win in today’s dynamic global environment is the DoD’s top priority and a matter of national security,” they write. “We are concerned that your proposed rewrite of the 2017-2022 five year plan will prioritize offshore oil and gas drilling, and oil company profits, over our military’s operational readiness.”

The letter also cites concerns from the military community about the security risks associated with climate change, including rising sea levels and the destabilizing influence it could have on already fragile communities and states.


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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