Offshore gas and oil drilling create various forms of pollution that have considerable negative effects on marine life and on coastal communities whose economies rely on tourism and fishing. When oil spills occur, for instance, they can cause irreversible damage to marine habitats and devastating losses for local businesses.
In a bid to protect the ocean and coastal economies, last week the House of Representatives passed two bills banning new offshore oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the Gulf Coast of Florida. Coastal lawmakers from both parties said the bills would protect U.S. shorelines from drilling that can pollute crucial waters and lead to disasters such as the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which released nearly 5 million barrels of oil.
While the legislation faced great support in the House, it’s now headed to the Senate where it’s most likely to face an uphill battle. Still, the victory represents a great step towards curbing our reliance on energy production that is obviously highly detrimental to our oceans and local economies.