Washington, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Representative Deborah Ross (NC-02) joined a bipartisan group of Members including House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) to introduce the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act, which would permanently ban offshore oil and gas development on the Atlantic outer continental shelf.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing a lease or any other authorization for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas, or any other mineral in the Mid-Atlantic planning area, the South Atlantic planning area, the North Atlantic planning area, or the Straits of Florida planning area.

“In North Carolina, our robust tourism, fishing, and recreation industries support over 50,000 jobs and generate nearly $2.2 billion in GDP. We cannot afford to put our coastal economy at risk by opening up the Atlantic to the dangers of offshore drilling. This is a bipartisan issue, and coastal county commissioners and mayors of both parties remain staunchly opposed to offshore drilling,” said Congresswoman Ross. “Furthermore, we have clean, reliable energy waiting to be captured off our coast in the form of offshore wind. North Carolina boasts the highest potential for offshore wind energy generation capacity of any east coast state, and our manufacturing sector stands ready to claim its share of what is projected to be a $140 billion offshore wind industry in the United States by 2035.”

“The fossil fuel industry has been attempting to drill off of North Carolina's pristine beaches for years. Thankfully, coastal communities and people across our state who love our coast have effectively stopped that from happening,” said Drew Ball, State Director of Environment North Carolina. “But we can't be certain that our coastline will remain clean and healthy for future generations until Congress makes it off-limits to offshore drilling. The COAST Act would do just that. We are grateful for Congresswoman Ross' advocacy and look forward to working with her to ensure that our environment and the interests of coastal communities win out over the desires of big oil and gas.”


"North Carolinians value our coast for its beauty and the opportunities it provides families to enjoy it. Millions depend on our coastal waters for their livelihoods,” said Dan Crawford, Director of Government Relations at the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. “That's why North Carolinians of both parties overwhelmingly want to protect our coast from dangerous offshore drilling. We thank Rep. Ross for her leadership in advocating for people's health and quality of life and against Big Oil polluters who are threatening it.”

“Permanently protecting our coasts from dirty and dangerous drilling is a crucial step toward addressing the climate crisis and protecting millions of jobs nationwide that rely on a clean coastal economy,” said Oceana Senior Field Representative Randy Sturgill. “Oceana applauds Congresswoman Deborah Ross for being an original cosponsor of the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act. We must permanently end this madness and welcome renewable energy sources like offshore wind to create jobs and power our clean energy future in North Carolina.”

Ross has already led efforts to develop clean offshore wind energy off the coast of North Carolina. Last month, she joined Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) to introduce a bill to reverse a Trump-era ban on offshore wind leasing that is set to take effect in 2022. Earlier, Ross led a letter with Representative David Rouzer (NC-07) and members of the North Carolina delegation to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) expressing support for the Bureau’s efforts to promptly and responsibly advance lease sales of existing wind energy areas (WEAs) and identify new WEAs off the coast of North Carolina.