Climate And Energy - Oceana

Offshore Wind

Offshore wind promises a future of clean, abundant energy.

Seismic Airgun Blasting

Seismic airgun blasting threatens marine life, coastal communities and local economies.

Offshore Drilling

Opening new areas to offshore drilling poses dangerous and unacceptable risks.

Climate and Energy

Oceana uses science and advocacy to drive policies aimed at stopping climate change. Our three current areas of focus are preventing offshore drilling, preventing seismic airgun blasting and promoting offshore wind energy.

Perhaps the gravest threat to our oceans and our planet is a changing climate. Unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are warming the planet and disrupting weather patterns, leading to flooding, melting ice, rising seas, droughts, and the devastation of ecosystems on land and at sea.

Oceans are among the most effective buffers against climate change, but as more carbon is absorbed by the oceans they become more acidic, reducing their capacity for absorbing fossil fuel emissions. This acidification is killing shellfish and corals—vital components of the entire food web—threatening marine populations from the smallest polyps to the largest whales.

Oceana is determined to help end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, the leading source of carbon pollution on the planet. We use science, litigation and grassroots advocacy to win policy victories that prevent the expansion of offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting, and that promote the development of clean offshore wind energy.

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What Oceana Does

Advocating for clean energy

 

Oceana works globally to promote clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind. In the U.S., Oceana is working to extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is needed to fund offshore wind projects, and Oceana actively works in both Europe and South America to push for energy policies that include clean energy. At the same time, Oceana works to ensure that offshore wind is installed safely and with an overall benefit to the world’s oceans.

 

Keeping offshore drilling from expanding

 

As Oceana pushes for renewable energy, Oceana works to ensure that all preexisting offshore drilling projects are operated safely and responsibly, while also working to keep new projects from developing. As proven by the BP oil spill disaster, offshore drilling can have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems and wildlife—from destroying fisheries, to harming marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds. For that reason, Oceana campaigns to keep seismic airgun blasting—a stepping stone to offshore drilling—from coming to the U.S. East Coast, as well as keeping the Arctic safe from oil exploration.

 

Victories

December 15, 2023

President Biden’s Five-Year Plan Protects US Waters from Expanded Offshore Drilling

In the United States, the Biden administration finalized its Five-Year Plan for offshore oil and gas leasing – with the fewest number of proposed lease sales to date. The plan offers three lease sales in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, and fully protects the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from new offshore drilling. This Five-Year Plan process began in 2018 under President Trump, who proposed 47 offshore drilling lease sales, the largest number ever proposed. Oceana was instrumental in stopping the expansion of drilling beyond the Gulf of Mexico and minimizing new lease sales in the Gulf. Oceana will continue to campaign with our allies to permanently protect U.S. coasts from new offshore drilling, which will help fight climate change and safeguard the communities, businesses, and wildlife that rely on a healthy ocean.

November 13, 2023

New Law in Belize Gives People the Power to Protect Offshore Oil Moratorium

The Government of Belize passed a new law that requires any decision to open its ocean to oil and gas drilling to first be voted on by the Belizean people through a national referendum. Belize is home to 40% of the second largest barrier reef system in the world (and the largest in the Western Hemisphere). Belizeans’ lives are inextricably tied to the sea and a third of the country’s economy is driven by tourism and fisheries. This victory would not have been possible without campaigning by Oceana and its allies, who secured 22,090 signed petitions from Belizean voters to ensure that “people power” is at the center of decisions about the long-term future of the country’s reef, ocean, and the livelihoods its resources sustain. In 2017, Oceana, the people of Belize, and the Belizean government made history by unanimously passing an indefinite moratorium on offshore oil in Belize.

November 9, 2020

Oceana, Coastal Communities, and Businesses Prevent Harmful Seismic Airgun Blasting in U.S. Atlantic Waters

Oceana and a coalition of groups filed suit in U.S. federal court that successfully delayed seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic, preventing this dangerous and deadly practice from going forward in the Atlantic Ocean as planned by the oil industry. Seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade sounds ever experienced in the ocean, which can injure or kill marine animals from zooplankton to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. This victory follows campaigning by Oceana, our allies, and thousands of coastal communities and businesses.
 

September 10, 2020

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina Protected from Offshore Drilling for 10 Years

U.S. President Trump withdrew the waters off Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina from offshore oil and gas leasing for 10 years. This was a reversal of President Trump’s previous plan to open nearly all U.S. waters to offshore drilling, threatening more than 2.6 million jobs and nearly $180 billion in GDP in pursuit of only two years’-worth of oil and just over one year’s-worth of gas at 2018 consumption rates. This victory follows years of campaigning by Oceana, its advocacy partner Oceana Action, and its many allies. The campaign organized opposition from coastal communities, business owners, and elected officials from both political parties. Oceana continues to campaign for permanent federal-level protections of all U.S. waters from expanded drilling.

August 5, 2020

Virginia’s Coast and Fisheries Protected from Offshore Drilling

In the United States, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law that protects Virginia’s beautiful and abundant ocean by prohibiting the exploration, development, and production of offshore oil and gas oil drilling in Virginia waters. The law also prohibits construction of any infrastructure to support drilling off Virginia’s coast, and prevents the state’s agencies from taking any action to facilitate oil and gas production. Offshore drilling threatens more than 86,000 jobs and $4.8 billion in GDP generated from fishing tourism and recreation along Virginia’s 3,300-mile coastline. This action follows grassroots organizing and campaigning by Oceana and our allies. Every East and West Coast governor has now called for offshore drilling protections. Oceana continues to campaign for permanent federal-level protections of all U.S. waters from expanded drilling.

April 26, 2019

New York Protects Coast from Offshore Drilling

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit the exploration, development and production of offshore oil and gas in New York waters. The law also prohibits any infrastructure to support drilling off New York’s coast, and prevents the state’s agencies from taking regulatory actions to facilitate oil and gas production in federal waters. The Trump administration had proposed plans to open much of the United States’ East Coast to oil and gas exploration and development.

August 21, 2017

Chile Rejects Major Industrial Port Mining Project That Threatened Penguins, Whales and Fragile Habitat

Following pressure from Oceana and its allies, Chile’s Ministerial Committee made major national news by confirming the rejection of port mining project Dominga in August 2017. The Andes Iron project had already been rejected by the Environmental Assessment Commission of Coquimbo in March 2017, but the mining company appealed the decision, causing the final verdict to fall on the Ministerial Committee. Dominga’s environmental impact assessment was strongly questioned by scientists, Oceana and its allies because it didn’t include basic required scientific information and didn’t gauge the impacts that two open pit mines and a mega port would have on the marine ecosystem and the world renowned Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. 

January 6, 2017

President Obama Protects Fish, Whales and More from Dangerous Seismic Airgun Blasting in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean

The Obama administration formally denied all pending permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. Seismic airgun blasting, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for potential oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface, was originally proposed in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida. Oceana helped mobilize more than 120 East Coast municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials and an alliance representing over 35,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families in publicly opposing offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. These individuals and groups became involved to protect the area’s nearly 1.4 million jobs and more than $95 billion in gross domestic product from dirty offshore drilling activities. Oceana will continue to advocate for the United States’ transition away from expanded offshore drilling and toward a cleaner energy economy, including the development of renewable energy sources such as offshore wind.

November 18, 2016

Obama Administration Removes Arctic Ocean from Offshore Drilling Plan

The Obama administration protected the Arctic Ocean from offshore drilling. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management removed the Beaufort and Chukchi seas from the newly released final 2017-2022 five-year program for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf. This announcement follows a similar decision in March where BOEM removed the Atlantic Ocean from the five-year program following widespread opposition along the East Coast. Oceana has been campaigning for 10 years to stop the expansion of oil and gas into the U.S. Arctic. 

July 13, 2016

Government Finalizes Safety and Prevention Rules for Arctic Ocean Exploration Drilling

After advocacy from Oceana and its allies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) finalized rules to improve spill prevention and response requirements for oil and gas exploration drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. The new rules apply to companies conducting new offshore oil exploration in the remote region and require companies to have a backup rig and emergency response equipment nearby in the event of a spill or accident.  They also necessitate that oil companies be able to monitor and quickly respond to dangerous Arctic weather conditions such as sea ice and storms. The Arctic rules are the result of the agencies’ work to address the lessons learned after Shell’s failed 2012 drilling efforts in the Arctic Ocean and BP’s failure to contain the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Oceana supports the implementation of these critical and overdue rules and encourages the government to use them as a starting point for greater reform of the regulations governing offshore oil and gas planning, leasing and exploration.

March 15, 2016

U.S. Government Removes Atlantic Ocean from Offshore Drilling Plan

The Obama administration removed the Atlantic Ocean from the five-year program (2017 to 2022) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation. Oceana built and led a powerful grassroots movement to demonstrate the broad-based and diverse opposition to offshore drilling. As a result, over 110 East Coast municipalities, as well as more than 100 Members of Congress, more than 750 state and local elected officials and approximately 1,100 business interests have publically opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. Oceana’s organization and mobilization of the people in opposition to offshore drilling led to this major victory for the ocean.

December 1, 2015

Moratorium and Ban Protects Belizean Marine Resources

The Government of Belize announced its intention to impose a permanent ban on offshore oil exploration along the Belizean barrier reef system and within the country’s seven world heritage sites. The Belizean barrier reef is the largest section of the MesoAmerican barrier reef, the biggest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and home to some of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet.

October 28, 2015

Shell Abandons Drilling Activity in U.S. Arctic Ocean

Shell Oil announced that it will cease further oil exploration in the U.S. Arctic Ocean for the foreseeable future. The move comes after a series of failed exploration attempts in the Arctic, costing the company billions of dollars. Shell’s efforts to operate in the remote and unforgiving Arctic in 2012 led to a series of mishaps, fines, government investigations and the grounding of the drill rig Kulluk. This year Shell faced new challenges and was unable to find oil in the prospect where the company drilled. Oceana’s campaigners successfully used law, economics, lobbying, science, and the press to clearly make the case that Shell’s plan was neither economically viable nor environmentally safe. Today’s decision is propelled by more than eight years of campaigning by Oceana and its allies whose work charted new ways to stop one of the largest and most powerful companies on the planet from putting the U.S. Arctic Ocean at risk. This is an enormous victory for the oceans, Oceana and the entire conservation community. 

June 18, 2015

Construction of Largest Coal-Fired Plant in Chile Stopped

Codelco, the largest copper mining company in the world, canceled it plans to construct Energía Minera, which would have been the largest coal-fired plant in Chile with a capacity of 1,050 megawatts and worth $1.7 billion USD. The company canceled construction in order to avoid conflicts with local communities in the Ventanas area, which is already heavily polluted by three other thermoelectric plants and a copper refinery. Oceana has campaigned against this plant for five years together with allies. With this move, Oceana in Chile achieved its campaign goal of stopping the construction of two coal-fired plants. The other, Punta Alcalde, was cancelled earlier in 2015.

 

April 6, 2015

Oceana Halts Construction of $1.4 Billion Power Plant Project

A $1.4 billion power plant project, known as Punta Alcade, in Chile has been cancelled by multi-national energy company Endesa. Punta Alcade would have been built in the coastal town of Huasco, which is already heavily polluted with five existing power plants. The project’s owner, the multi-national energy company Endesa, attributed high costs associated with environmental requirements as part of its reasoning for withdrawing from the project. Oceana in Chile and its allies campaigned against Punta Alcade’s construction for four years as part of its work to establish clean energy technology throughout Chile and move away from fossil fuel emissions.

February 28, 2013

Shell Retreats on Arctic Drilling

Shell Oil Company announced that it will not attempt to drill exploration wells in the Arctic Ocean in 2013. This announcement comes in the wake of Shell’s disastrous 2012 drilling season, which left both of its drilling vessels disabled in Alaskan waters awaiting transport to Asia for repairs. The company also faces investigation by the Coast Guard, notices of violation of the Clean Air Act from the Environmental Protection Agency, and a 60-day review by the Department of the Interior. Oceana has called on the Department of the Interior to suspend activities in the Arctic Ocean and to fundamentally reconsider how it makes decisions about Arctic Ocean resources. 
 

Take Action

STOP DANGEROUS NEW OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING

With a new U.S. administration and political climate upon us, we must continue to speak out against new offshore drilling in our oceans.

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