Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, May 24, 2017

Contact:  Catherine Kilduff, (202) 780-8862,

Protest to Urge Rep. Taylor to Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling in Atlantic

Trump Order Threatens Wildlife, Coastal Communities, Local Economy

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— Constituents of Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va., 2nd District) will gather outside his Virginia Beach office tomorrow, May 25, to demand that he and his East Coast colleagues in Congress oppose Trump administration efforts to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters, including the Atlantic Ocean.

East Coast communities last year successfully pressured the federal government to abandon a proposal to offer Atlantic offshore leases to oil companies for the first time in more than 30 years. But President Trump issued an executive order on April 28 urging federal agencies to expand offshore drilling in federal waters, possibly including the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Conservation and community groups from across the country strongly oppose the order, which is being challenged in court and through a week of action that began Saturday, with Hands Across the Sands, and includes tomorrow's rally.

What: Rally calling on Rep. Taylor and other members of Congress to oppose efforts to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling the Atlantic Ocean and other currently protected federal waters, including the Arctic and Pacific oceans. A petition opposing offshore oil drilling with signatures collected in Virginia Beach on Saturday at Hands Across the Sands will be delivered.

When: Thursday, May 25 at noon (thunderstorms will cancel the rally)

Where: Outside Taylor's office, 1 Columbus Center, Suite 900, Virginia Beach, VA 

Who: The rally is being organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Mothers Out Front, Oceana and the Sierra Club.

“East Coast communities strongly oppose new offshore drilling and we need Rep. Taylor to represent us, not Trump or the oil industry,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney who will lead the rally. “Drilling causes spilling, which devastates local communities that rely on tourism and fishing. Even exploring offshore oil requires deafening seismic blasts that harm critically endangered right whales and other marine life. “We won't let Trump and this reckless administration put Virginia in harm's way.”

“The people of Hampton Roads have made it clear that our region does not support offshore drilling. Allowing drilling off our coast would jeopardize our numerous military bases, essential ports, and vibrant tourism industry,” said Harrison Wallace at Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “At a time when our coasts are being battered by sea level rise, we need to be expanding our clean energy economy -- not increasing our reliance on dangerous new sources of fossil fuels.”

“As of today, more than 120 East Coast municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials, and an alliance representing over 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have publicly opposed offshore drilling activities,” said Caroline Wood, Mid-Atlantic Campaign organizer for Oceana. “Nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion supported by our Atlantic Ocean are at stake. Virginia Beach proudly supports coastal tourism, local seafood, lucrative fishing, and our military, all of which are founded on an ocean that is vibrant, healthy, and unhindered by dirty and dangerous offshore drilling. For communities like ours, offshore drilling does not present an opportunity to diversify our economy – we know that offshore drilling can only replace our current economy, and would change the very fabric of our community, forever.”

“The prospect of an oil spill off our beaches or the daily, destructive pollution that will surely accompany offshore drilling is something that we cannot risk, environmentally or economically,” said Jeff Staples, community outreach coordinator with the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. “We must transition to clean energy now.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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