Reps. Luria, McEachin, and Jones Introduce Bipartisan Offshore Drilling Bill

January 8, 2019
Press Release
The Defend Our Coast Act would protect Virginia’s coastal communities by prohibiting offshore drilling on the Mid-Atlantic Coastline

WASHINGTON – Representatives Elaine Luria (VA-02), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), and Walter B. Jones (NC-03) co-introduced the bipartisan Defend Our Coast Act to prohibit the Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development or production of oil or gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Mid-Atlantic (Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware).

This is Rep. Luria’s first co-sponsorship of congressional legislation.

“Offshore drilling is a direct threat to my district. It has the potential to hurt our environment, our military, and our economy,” Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) said. “As a 20-year Navy veteran who trained off the Virginia coast, I know that having to dodge oil platforms would disrupt operations, impact readiness, and undermine our national security. And as an oceanfront small business owner, I know what offshore drilling could do to Virginia’s shorelines, tourism industry, and aquaculture. I’m proud to work across state lines and party lines to ensure that we can ban offshore drilling in the Hampton Roads region and beyond.”

“I am re-introducing the Defend Our Coast Act as my first bill of the 116th Congress because I am determined to do everything I can to protect our coastal communities. History has shown us that offshore drilling accidents can threaten public health, military operations, and marine life. The potential toll from a spill—in terms of damages, injuries, deaths, and other harms—is incalculable,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Offshore drilling has no place off the coast of Virginia. Our jobs, tourism, ecosystems, and local economies are not worth the risk that comes with offshore drilling. We need to invest in clean renewable energies that do not damage our one Earth.”

The Defend Our Coast Act would specifically forbid any drilling, exploration, development, or production of fossil fuels off the Continental Shelf in the mid-Atlantic region. Additional cosponsors of the legislation include: Representatives Don Beyer, Gerald Connolly, David Price, and Bobby Scott.

In 2017, the Trump Administration issued Executive Order 13795, which overturned the commonsense prohibition of offshore drilling, including off much of the Atlantic coast. The administration’s actions are in tension with the Department of Defense’s previously expressed view that offshore drilling could impede and hamper military readiness activities.