Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) offered an amendment to H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, to prohibit offshore oil and gas leasing in the mid-Atlantic, including off the coast of North Carolina. The Strategic Production Response Act would prevent the Department of Energy (DOE) from releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) until it expands oil and gas drilling on federal lands. This misguided legislation will open up more than 300 million additional acres to fossil fuel extraction, and Congresswoman Ross’ amendment is necessary to protect North Carolina’s coastline as well as the state’s robust tourism, recreation, and fishing industries.

“I’m disappointed that House leadership is advancing a bill that will harm our environment and coastal communities nationwide that rely on clean and healthy marine ecosystems to bolster their economies,” said Congresswoman Ross. “My amendment will take the necessary step of preventing North Carolina’s coast from being subjected to expanded offshore oil and gas drilling – a commonsense measure that my constituents and elected officials on both sides of the aisle support. Despite the reckless policies put forward in this legislation, I will keep fighting for every opportunity to protect our people and our economy.”

 Contrary to claims made by proponents of H.R. 21, President Biden’s prudent decision to release oil from the SPR in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine played a key role in lowering gas prices for American consumers. Moreover, the fossil fuel industry already has over 2,000 active leases covering 12 million acres of federal waters – 75% of which are not being used to produce oil and gas. The Strategic Production Response Act will harm our people, environment, and economy and handcuff the administration’s ability to combat rising energy prices in the future.