Scott Statement on President Trump’s Off-Shore Drilling Executive Order

April 28, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to expand off-shore drilling:

“Nearly seven years to the day after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I was disappointed to see President Trump sign an Executive Order to review the 2017-2022 Five Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program, protections put in place for sensitive offshore areas, and regulations put in place to ensure that disasters similar to Deepwater Horizon never take place.

 "The 2017-2022 Leasing Program was developed collaboratively with significant input from local leaders, businesses, the Department of Defense, environmental stakeholders, and many others. Following this collaborative process, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management determined that oil and gas exploration off the coast of Virginia was not consistent with the needs of the community or the requirements of the Department of Defense.

“The President’s Executive Order also ordered the Secretary of Interior to review all areas permanently withdrawn from oil and gas leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, including the Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons off the Virginia coast. These unique habitats host a vast array of marine life and offer opportunities for research, conservation, and recreation. It is critical that we protect these areas, and it remains to be seen whether the President even has the authority to withdraw protections for these areas.

“As the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster demonstrated, we must exercise extreme caution in offshore drilling. I have long believed that it is simply not worth the risk to Virginia’s fishery, tourism and recreational economy, to our region’s relationship with the Department of Defense, or to the health of our coastlines and the Chesapeake Bay to drill for oil that would yield nothing more than a few days-worth of national oil and gas supply.”

# # #