Congressman McEachin Introduces Bipartisan Defend Our Coast Act

June 5, 2018
Press Release
The Defend Our Coast Act will prohibit offshore drilling on the Mid-Atlantic Coastline

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) will introduce the bipartisan Defend Our Coast Act at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s annual conference, Capitol Hill Ocean Week.

This bipartisan bill, introduced with Congressman Walter Jones (NC-03), will prohibit the Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development or production of oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Mid-Atlantic (North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware).

“Offshore drilling could negatively impact coastal communities in my district and the Mid-Atlantic coastline. As we know all too well, from prior tragedies such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, accidents can be dangerous, expensive, life-threatening and leave us with years of negative ramifications,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “That is why I am proud to introduce the Defend Our Coast Act to protect our region from future drilling. Offshore drilling in the Mid-Atlantic is nothing but a gift to oil and gas companies. If we open our oceans to drilling – oil and gas companies, lobbyists, and corporate executives stand to gain at the expense of American citizens. My constituents are eager for renewable energy sources, and they do not want to destroy our pristine coasts, risk accidents and hinder critical military exercises.”

Last year, the Trump Administration issued an executive order overturning the commonsense prohibition of offshore drilling, including off much of the Atlantic coast. President Trump and Secretary Zinke’s actions directly contradict the Department of Defense’s previously expressed that offshore drilling may well impede and hamper military readiness activities.

Congressman McEachin believes that defending and protecting our coasts is of paramount importance. Once ruined, those unique shorelines may never recover from a tragic oil spill. Earlier this year, Rep. McEachin stood with coastal community constituents and fellow Virginians in their vocal opposition to offshore drilling during BOEM’s Virginia Public Meeting on Offshore Drilling.

Complete bill text is available here. Click here to watch Congressman McEachin introduce the Defend our Coast Act.

Background provided by BOEM: The National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for oil and gas development establishes a schedule of oil and gas lease sales proposed for planning areas of the OCS. The Program specifies the size, timing, and location of potential leasing activity that the Secretary of the Interior determines will best meet national energy needs. Currently, BOEM is working under the 2017-2022 National OCS Program. However, as directed in Executive Order 13795 (issued on April 28, 2017) and Secretary's Order 3350 (issued on May 1, 2017), BOEM is initiating a process to develop a new National OCS Program for 2019-2024 to, upon completion, replace the 2017-2022 Program.


Contact: Jamitress Bowden
(202) 225-6365