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Environmental groups ask Obama to permanently halt offshore drilling

Anita Kumar

A coalition of nearly 30 groups from New Jersey to Alabama is asking President Obama to permanently withdraw the Atlantic Coast and eastern Gulf of Mexico from offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted comments to the federal government on behalf of the 28 groups Wednesday, the deadline for public comments on the Department of Interior's five-year offshore drilling plan. The plan covers 2012 through 2017.

"Opening these areas to oil and gas drilling would be reckless in the extreme,'' SELC attorney Marirose Pratt said. "We are witnessing the dire consequences the oil spill is having in the fragile ecosystems of the central Gulf. A spill would be just as devastating in the Mid- or South Atlantic or the eastern Gulf. In fact, the government ranks the shorelines of these areas as more environmentally sensitive to oil spills than the central Gulf,"

In May, Obama announced that he was canceling plans for any proposed lease sales off the Virginia coast, but the state remained in the federal government's next 2012-2017 five-year offshore drilling plan.

See below for the names of the organizations that signed the letter:

Alabama Rivers Alliance.
Altamaha Riverkeeper & Altamaha Coastkeeper (Ga.).
Center for a Sustainable Coast (Ga.).
Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper (Ala.).
Coastal Conservation League (S.C.).
Conservation Alabama.
Conservation Council of North Carolina.
Conservation Voters of South Carolina.
Defenders of Wildlife.
Environment New Jersey.
Environment Virginia.
Georgia Conservancy.
Glynn Environmental Coalition (Ga.).
Hurricane Creekkeeper, Friends of Hurricane Creek (Ala.).
Mobile Baykeeper.
North Carolina Coastal Federation.
North Carolina Conservation Network.
North Carolina Native Plant Society, Southeast Coast Chapter.
Ogeechee Riverkeeper (Ga.).
Pamlico-Tar River Foundation (N.C.).
PenderWatch & Conservancy (N.C.).
Savannah Riverkeeper.
Sierra Club, North Carolina Chapter.
Sierra Club, South Carolina Chapter.
Sierra Club, Virginia Chapter.
Southern Environmental Law Center.
Virginia League of Conservation Voters

By Anita Kumar  |  June 30, 2010; 3:07 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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