The below letter was sent to all the businesses and business organizations that signed a letter to President Obama calling for no seismic testing or offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast. As a member/supporter of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber, which co-founded the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, this letter is for you.
Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast
1717 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201, 803-252-5733
November 20, 2016
This past week the call on President Obama to permanently ban Atlantic Coast offshore drilling and seismic testing echoed loudly in Washington, DC. And you as a supporter of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) made it happen.
The letter you signed to the President represented over 12,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families. Eight members of BAPAC delivered this letter of opposition to seismic testing and offshore drilling on Monday of this past week. We had separate meetings with the Administration’s Department of Interior/Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), White House Council on Environmental Quality and Department of Commerce.
Our message was well received and it was made very clear by the Administration officials that the passionate, strong business voice was critical in their decision-making process. The sheer number of businesses we represented made an undeniably positive impression.
Our efforts were picked up by the media before and after our meetings (here and here). And there is more to come.
Our impact on Congress showed up on Thursday before the Senate voted not to advance a bill to bribe Atlantic Coast states into supporting offshore drilling with revenue sharing from oil development. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate against the bill citing BAPAC’s massive business opposition to offshore drilling and the need for the President to permanently protect the coast from the petroleum industry destroying our local tourism, commercial fishing and recreation economies.
Finally, the good news we anticipated from the Department of Interior was made official on Friday. The 5-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing does not include the Atlantic Coast, an announcement made back in March:
After an extensive public input process, the lease sale that was proposed in the Draft Proposed Program in the Mid- and South Atlantic area was removed during the earlier Proposed Program stage of the process due to current market dynamics, strong local opposition and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses.
The clarion call of “strong local opposition” and “conflicts with competing commercial…ocean uses” has only grown louder in 2016. Our collective, organized business efforts have been vital to this resonating message.
We hope that the President will end his Administration with the greatest holiday gift he can give to our vibrant Atlantic Coast economies—permanent protection from offshore drilling and exploration.
Thank you for your support.
Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce