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Trump Administration Releases Plan to Recklessly Expand Drilling off Atlantic Coast

WASHINGTON - Today, Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior (DOI) released a draft of the proposed 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program, ignoring the thousands of local businesses, 130 coastal municipalities, long bipartisan list of state and local lawmakers, and hundreds of thousands of beach lovers who each said “no” to drilling off the Atlantic coast.

In response, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Kate Addleson, released the following statement:

Trump’s reckless plan for a drilling ‘do over’ must be rejected. This plan was hastily concocted, has no basis in science, employs faulty economics and blatantly disregards the flood of public opinion that strongly opposes opening the Atlantic Ocean to risky, dirty and unnecessary offshore drilling.

For over 30 years there has been a ban on drilling off our coast, and for good reason. A healthy, biodiverse environment is the lifeblood of our vibrant coastal economy, which depends entirely on clean beaches and ocean waters to sustain multi-billion dollar a year tourism, fishing and aquaculture industries that employs tens of thousands of Virginians.

The current plan was finalized by the Obama administration in November 2016, excluding the Atlantic coast and nearly the entire Arctic Ocean. Following the release of the plan and in response to the calls of coastal communities and millions of Americans across the country, President Obama acted under his authority designated by Section 12a of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently protect parts of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from the threat of offshore drilling. The Trump administration’s plan to roll back these protections is reckless and untenable.

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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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