Oceans help feed the world, provide a living for millions of people, and are home to most of the life on the planet.

NRDC works to protect our seas from pollution and exploitation. We help implement laws that allow overfished species to rebound, and we fight to protect coastal communities from offshore drilling. We work to ban destructive fishing practices, conserve ocean treasures, and improve stewardship of the world’s shared oceans, which generate trillions of dollars in economic activity.

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Ocean Protection

Oceans are threatened by overfishing, oil and gas drilling, mining, and other industrial activities.

Ocean Threats

Oceans are damaged every day by oil and gas drilling, pollution, and other industrial activities.

Sustainable Fishing

Populations of tuna, swordfish, and other large species have fallen by 90 percent.

Ocean Noise

The amount of noise in the ocean has doubled each decade since the 1950s.

What's at Stake

What you can do

Protect Marine Life

Urge NOAA to strengthen its plan to reduce industrial ocean noise.

10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution

What you need to know about ocean acidification

Stop Trump and Pruitt’s escalated anti-environment assault

Follow these eco-friendly beach tips on your next vacation

Coastal Rallies in Response to Trump's Offshore Order
Franz Matzner

Millions of Americans spoke out over the last several years to urge then-President Barack Obama to protect our oceans. And he did, to large extent, by permanently withdrawing nearly all of the Arctic Ocean and sensitive areas of the Atlantic from consideration for oil and gas leasing, removing both oceans entirely from the 5-year leasing plan (covering 2017 through 2022), and limiting seismic exploration that substantially harms marine mammals. Today, President Trump is initiating his attempt to undo those measures and Americans will speak out again. The communities of our southeastern seaboard mobilized en masse to preclude the oil industry from drilling off their coasts. Many of those communities are acting quickly this week to respond to the threat Trump’s Executive Order poses to their very livelihoods.

Below is list of events being held in coastal southeastern states. It will be continuously updated as more details become available and more event plans are solidified. So please check back if you live in this region!

VIRGINIA (1)

WHEN: Friday, 4/28 @ 1:15 PM
WHERE: Neptune Park, 31st St. on the boardwalk in Va. Beach
WHO (Speakers): Laura Wood Habr (Founding Member, BAPAC; Vice President, VBRA; Owner, Croc’s 19th St. Bistro); Joseph Bouchard, Ph.D. (Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.); Others TBA

NORTH CAROLINA (2-3)

WHAT: NO Oil Drill Press Conference/Rally
WHEN: Saturday, 4/29 @ 10:00 AM
WHERE: 10th St. Boat Ramp in Morehead City at the Bogue Sound end of the street (at the corner of 10th and Shepard St.)

WHAT: DontDrillNC press conference before OBX Peoples Climate March
WHEN: Saturday, 4/29 @ 9:00 AM
WHERE: Jockey's Ridge; 300 W. Carolista Drive, Nags Head, NC 27959

Another event in Wilmington, TBA

SOUTH CAROLINA (3-4)

WHAT: Beaufort Press Conf
WHEN: Friday, 4/28 @ 11:00 AM
WHERE: Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, Bay St, Beaufort, SC 29902
WHO: Mayor Keyserling as primary speaker

WHAT: Myrtle Beach Press Conf
WHEN: Thursday, 5/4 @ 10:00 AM
WHERE: Damons Restaurant, 2985 S Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

WHAT: Charleston Press Conf
WHEN: Friday, 4/28 @ 2:00 PM
WHERE: Charleston Maritime Center, 10 Warfside St. Charleston SC 29401
WHO: Mayor Tecklenberg speaking

Trump Acts Quickly to Open Our Coasts to Offshore Drilling
Alexandra Adams

If you thought Earth Day would give President Trump and his administration pause in their ongoing assault on our environment and health, you were wrong. Instead, the week after hundreds of thousands of people rallied around the world in a global March for Science in support of Earth Day, the Trump administration is preparing to roll back critical protections against offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans and potentially force additional drilling off our coasts, while also taking aim at marine monuments and sanctuaries.

The move spurns the clear science that warns us that opening the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans to oil and gas production—if the industry managed to pull it off in such risky and challenging seas—could derail our efforts to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, locking America into decades of carbon pollution. It also presents a very real threat to America’s oceans and coastal communities because of the harms and health hazards that accompany offshore oil and gas development, including seismic blasting and the risk of massive oil spills.

President Trump’s executive order purports to remove permanent protections that keep offshore drilling out of the U.S. Arctic and a number of other sensitive areas, probably including massive Atlantic undersea canyons (details remain a little vague). The order also directs the Department of the Interior to revise its current leasing plan to potentially include new lease sales in these areas, and possibly additional areas in the next five years. And it attempts to fast-track approvals of seismic blasting—the precursor to drilling—to the detriment of endangered whales, fish, and fisheries.

But President Trump’s executive order not only ignores science and citizens, it ignores the law. The law governing offshore leasing authorizes presidents to remove areas from leasing, but if those removals are intended to be permanent, it doesn’t permit a president to reverse that withdrawal. NRDC won’t stand by while the Administration takes actions that are so wrong for the country and environment. We are taking this to the courts with our co-counsel, Earthjustice.

Supported by scienceeconomicsclean energy leaderslocal businesses, and the vast majority of Americans, President Obama used power granted by Congress to permanently protect most of the Arctic Ocean and a chain of deep sea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from the Chesapeake Bay to Canada’s border, from dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling. He also removed the entire Arctic and Atlantic from the administration’s five year leasing plan, responding to a groundswell of bipartisan local and national calls to preserve and protect our public ocean resources and all they support.

And for good reason. America’s oceans sustain life, not only for the vast array of marine species that inhabit their deep waters and coasts, but for all of us. The Atlantic Ocean supports a multi-billion-dollar sustainable seafood economy, and its coastal communities thrive thanks to clean and healthy oceans and beaches. And the Arctic Ocean is one of our last truly wild places. It not only nurtures a vast array of unique wildlife, but its health is also fundamental to regulating Earth’s climate.

President Obama’s decision to protect Arctic and Atlantic Ocean waters from expanded drilling came as a result of overwhelming support. A 2016 poll found 59 percent of Americans supported the idea to permanently protect the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from oil drilling. More than 1.4 million people submitted comments opposing offshore drilling to the Obama administration. Members of the U.S. House and Senate called on President Obama to protect the Atlantic and Arctic. Native Alaskan residents and thousands of Atlantic coast communities, businesses, and municipalities declared their opposition to drilling and seismic testing. Veterans spoke out on the security risks of Arctic drilling and climate change; and a host of environmental, Latino, conservation, faith-based leaders and women’s rights organizations called for permanent protection of these vibrant, oil-free waters that belong to all Americans.

President Trump not only wants to hand over our oceans to big polluters who place profits before public health, he also wants to remove protections for some of our most unique and valuable ocean ecosystems. This order directs agencies to halt designation or expansion of marine sanctuaries, and to review all marine national monuments designated in the last ten years. He is clearly taking aim at our most cherished ocean places. The executive order fits squarely within a long list of efforts by the Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress that weaken or eliminate fundamental protections for clean water, clean air, and public health.

The Trump Administration is moving faster every day in its attempt to hobble agencies and laws that protect Americans and our environment—our air, oceans and land. We must work together to stand up to this assault. Tell your elected representatives to protect our most important ocean treasures, to oppose expanded offshore drilling, and to safeguard our oceans, communities, and climate from reckless, unnecessary offshore drilling. 

Trump: Check the Fine Print
Franz Matzner

This week, the Trump Administration continued its sweeping assault on our public lands and oceans issuing an unprecedented Executive Order mandating a review of all National Monuments designated since 1996. As my colleague writes, this is a shocking rejection of the very principle of conservation that has been a central part of America’s identity since President Teddy Roosevelt set aside our first National Monument, the Devils Tower more than a century ago

It’s also enormously controversial. That’s probably why the administration took great pains to hide the ball on the true scope of its attack. Initial press statements claimed the review would apply only to a handful of larger monuments. Yet the actual Executive Order contains no such limitation, putting over 50 existing monuments on a target list to be drastically shrunk or sold off to the highest bidder.

Call it spin. Label it misinformation. Or an outright and intentional falsehood. The salient point is that it’s time for everyone—from individual citizens to the press—to look behind the curtain of Trump’s words and judge by the actual actions taken.

Little could be more revealing than the consistency with which Trump and his cabinet are systematically attempting to deliver the fossil fuel industry its wish list—no matter how much that list violates the science, the law, real economics, or the will of the majority of Americans. And that it puts our health at risk that rises with every anti-environmental action the president undertakes.

Tomorrow the President reportedly will announce another Executive Order that similarly threatens our valuable public waters. We can predict a similar pattern of misdirection.   

We are not certain of exactly what will be in the executive order. But we do know its intent: to be the opening move to putting drill rigs in our coastal waters—and oil spills—back on our beaches.  

There will be a lot of hand waving about jobs and energy independence, blatantly disregarding the threat offshore drilling possess to over 1.4 million existing jobs that support local communities up and down the coast. 

It will ignore the fact that oil from these still unspoiled oceans would take decades to reach consumers, long past when we need to make the transition to clean energy.  

And it runs rough-shod over the will of the people.  No one should forget that during the course of the last two-year process to evaluate the management of our commonly held coastal resources a groundswell of bipartisan opposition erupted across the nation demanding that our public waters be preserved and protected.   

That opposition will be on clear display today when Senators Ed Markey and Menendez host a press event along with 27 colleagues to introduce legislation further protecting our oceans, coastal residents, and climate. The event only underscores the broad base of support for keeping oil off our beaches and our commitments to clean energy on course.

There is simply no reason whatsoever to restart a process, concluded only a few months ago, other than to try and force the will of the oil industry on the people—by hook or by crook.

Tomorrow, we will see just how far President Trump wants to go at the behest of the oil industry.  

What we know today is that the administration is opening the door for our priceless natural landscapes to be sold and exploited. Our public parks, monuments, national forests, wildlands and vibrant oceans, set aside for all to enjoy, are a unique part of our collective heritage.  Preserving them has been one of America’s great innovations. Preserving them highlights American values. It’s our duty to protect them for this and future generations. These lands and waters belong solely to the American people. They should never be sold to polluters or given away to private interests that would desecrate and destroy them for profit.

And any attempts to do will meet the same intensity of opposition that led to the protection of these wonderful places in the first place. 

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