This fact sheet explains how opening America’s Atlantic to oil and gas exploration and development threatens vitally important segments of the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of many of the 70 million Americans who live along the East Coast. From Maine’s vibrant harbors to Florida’s beautiful beaches, coastal communities rely on the Atlantic Ocean for food, jobs, and recreation.
Oil and gas exploration and development could devastate the Atlantic Coast. Offshore drilling poses the risk of oil spills ruining our beaches and contaminating our water, harming important ecosystems and habitats that are critical to regional economies.
In 2014, the U.S. Atlantic Ocean economy contributed roughly $92 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). More than 60 percent of that came from tourism, recreation, and the fishing and seafood industries. These businesses, which together employ more than 1 million people, largely depend on a clean ocean, clean beaches, and abundant fish and wildlife.