11.11.2015 Brunswick County, N.C. – Louis Bacon’s Orton Foundation announced today that it has awarded Oceana a second $50,000 grant dedicated to their campaign to prevent offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting along the Atlantic coast, including the sensitive coastal regions of North Carolina. The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, supports conservation nonprofits that focus on protecting threatened landscapes, habitats and water bodies.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is considering opening a large swath of the Atlantic Ocean – from Virginia to Georgia – to oil and gas companies hoping to drill in the Atlantic Ocean. Nine of these companies have applied to use seismic airgun blasting to search for oil and gas deposits, which is an extremely dangerous process that can harm the ability of marine mammals to survive. The area includes critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales (http://www.noaa.gov/).

A groundswell of opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic is growing. As of today, 87 East Coast municipalities, including 27 in North Carolina, have formally opposed seismic airgun blasting and/or offshore drilling. In addition, roughly 600 local, state and federal officials, more than 300 coastal businesses, and over 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations, as well as the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Southeastern Fisheries Association, the Fisheries Survival Fund, the Billfish Foundation and the International Game Fish Association, have all publically opposed offshore oil exploration and/or development. In March, Oceana and other organizations delivered more than half a million petition signatures opposing offshore development to BOEM.

Oceana is encouraging local residents and their elected officials to continue to speak out against the proposal to open up the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas development.

Ann Colley, executive director of The Moore Charitable Foundation, commented: “North Carolina’s coastline is a treasure and is home to so much important marine life. The proposed offshore drilling and seismic air gun blasting would threaten the state’s coastal communities, economies, fisheries and marine mammals all along the Atlantic coast. Oceana is leading the important work to ensure that this essential coastline remains free of drilling and blasting, and we are happy to support their efforts.”

“Opposition to East Coast drilling is growing every day, and the federal government should start listening,” said Claire Douglass, campaign director at Oceana. “Opening up the Atlantic to offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous business—there are countless risks with little to no reward. Coastal communities from Ocean Isle Beach to Kill Devil Hills have the most to lose, and their voices must be heard. With support from groups like Louis Bacon’s Orton Foundation, we can protect the East Coast from offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting.”

According to Oceana, the government’s plan would open the East Coast to industrial offshore drilling for the first time ever, leading to a coast scattered with oil and gas rigs, the industrialization of coastal communities and the looming threat of a Deepwater Horizon-like disaster. Oceana’s own analysis found that offshore wind would create twice the number of jobs and generate twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, without the risk of a catastrophic spill.

For more information about Oceana’s efforts, please click here.