DrillingIsKilling: great advances against offshore drilling

09/02/21

Last October, Surfrider Foundation Europe launched its #DrillingIsKilling campaign to alert MEPs of the dangers of offshore drilling and push for an EU-wide ban. Many of you took part in this campaign, using the power of your voices to urge your elected representatives into action. Our calls have been answered by a select group of motivated MEPs who have stepped up to join our fight and take us one step closer to stopping this pollution for good.


Thousands of citizens mobilised 

Following the publishing of the manifesto, "Towards a ban on offshore drilling in the EU", which was signed and supported by several partnering NGOs, Surfrider Europe launched its #DrillingIsKilling campaign to raise awareness and fight against offshore exploitation. A participatory platform was created to empower citizens with the opportunity to speak directly to MEPs and express their demands to stop the pollution and environmental hazards generated by offshore drilling.

12,000 messages were sent to MEPs within the first few months of the platform going live. Thanks to the strong mobilisation of citizens all across Europe, our message has been heard, loud and clear. 63 MEPs have now publicly announced their position against offshore drilling and exploration and are in support of a total EU ban.



Thanks to you, European deputies are taking action 

In a recent letter addressed to the European Commission, the rallied MEPs explain that in order to meet the EU's ambition of climate neutrality by 2050, it is absolutely necessary to phase out fossil fuels, in addition to regulating maritime transport. To facilitate this, the mobilised representatives have requested a revision of the Directive on Safety At Sea. Adopted in 2013 in response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the USA, this text provides a framework for the safety of oil and gas platforms at sea. Though initially strongly supported by Surfrider Europe’s lobbying team as a good first step, the framework does not prevent drilling in vulnerable areas, such as Marine Protected Areas or the Arctic, and must be updated to react to today’s environmental context.   



In their appeal to the European Commission, MEPs call for a total ban on offshore drilling, one of the most disastrous fossil fuel activities, by pointing out the extreme dangers to both human life and biodiversity throughout every step of the oil and gas exploration and exploitation process. These dangers include the deafening and disorienting effects of seismic testing on marine animals, possible oil spills during extraction, risks associated with platform maintenance, and the nearly impossible feat of platform dismantling, which contaminates water quality and leaves most of these massive structures for abandoned, toxic marine waste. 



A time to press forward 

In an action plan to stop this pollution and its deadly side effects, MEPs are proposing to harmonise civil and criminal liability for all environmental damages between Member States, to regulate the dismantling of offshore platforms at the European level, and ban all drilling as soon as possible.

Although this letter is signed by only a percentage of European Parliament members, it represents a considerable step forward for ocean protection and significantly valorises the efforts of both concerned citizens and blue NGOs. We must now seize the momentum of our allied MEPs and work together as a united front. Our chances of getting the European Commission to take concrete action grow with each newly converted MEP. We must continue to make our voices heard, to call on those representatives who have not yet sided with us and and show them that the future of our Ocean, of our planet, hinges on our collective ability to stop the use of fossil fuels and ban offshore drilling in the EU!   

 



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