INSTITUTE INDEX: Atlantic drilling push meets opposition in coastal communities

The area of the Atlantic where, after intense lobbying by a secretive alliance of coastal state governors and energy industry insiders, the Obama administration has proposed offering an offshore oil and gas drilling lease. A growing grassroots movement is working to block the plan. (Map from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.)

Date of the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout off the Louisiana coast, which killed 11 men, injured 17 others, released at least 160 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and put the future of offshore drilling in doubt: 4/20/2010

Percent by which the oil and gas industry's contributions to federal candidates increased between the 2010 and 2012 election cycles: more than 200

Year in which a group of Republican governors representing coastal states formed the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition to promote expanded offshore drilling: 2011

Year in which the Governors Coalition handed over its day-to-day management to the Consumer Energy Alliance, a "social welfare" nonprofit that does not have to disclose its donors: 2012

Number of energy companies and industry associations that belong to the Consumer Energy Alliance, including all five so-called oil and gas "supermajors": more than 90

Percent of the staff listed on the Consumer Energy Alliance's website who are also employees of HBW Resources, a lobbying and public relations firm that specializes in energy development: 100

When the Consumer Energy Alliance held a session for governors to meet with industry leaders at an offshore drilling conference held in Houston in May 2013, number of reporters allowed in the room: 0

Right after an HBW Resources-financed fundraiser for Governors Coalition member Nikki Haley of South Carolina following the May 2013 closed-door session with industry, amount her campaign reported collecting from employees of the energy lobby firm: $6,000

Amount her campaign reported collecting at that same time from Richmond "Richie" Miller, president of Spectrum Geo, a Houston-based company that conducts seismic testing for offshore oil and gas reserves: $2,500

Months later that Spectrum Geo submitted applications for permits from South Carolina regulators to explore for oil deposits off the state's coast: 8

Months after Governors Coalition members met with newly appointed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that her department announced plans to open the Atlantic to seismic testing: 5

Date on which North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory held a press conference where he announced that he would become chair of the Governors Coalition: 1/21/2014

Before becoming governor, years McCrory worked in the energy industry: 28

Years McCrory served as a spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group that receives funding from oil and gas interests while promoting expanded drilling: 2

Days after McCrory announced his Governors Coalition chairmanship that hundreds of people packed a town council meeting in Kure Beach, North Carolina to protest the mayor's decision to sign a letter written by an arm of the American Petroleum Institute endorsing seismic testing in the Atlantic — a watershed moment for the growing grassroots movement against offshore oil and gas development: 6

After intense lobbying by the Governors Coalition, date on which the Obama administration released a draft proposal to offer an offshore oil and gas drilling lease in an area of the Atlantic 50 miles off the coast of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia: 1/27/2015

Number of people who showed up for an open house federal regulators held in Wilmington, North Carolina in February to collect comments about the draft proposal, most of whom opposed Atlantic drilling: almost 400

Number of people, most of them drilling opponents, who showed up for an open house on the draft Atlantic leasing proposal held on North Carolina's Outer Banks, setting a new attendance record for such gatherings: 670

On the closing day of the comment period for the draft offshore leasing proposal, number of comments against drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic that environmental groups delivered to the Obama administration: more than 400,000

Number of East Coast communities that have taken positions against seismic testing and/or drilling in the Atlantic: more than 70

Number of business, tourism and fishing industry associations that have passed similar resolutions: at least 15

Number of East Coast state legislators who signed a letter to the Obama administration opposing Atlantic drilling: 83

Number of U.S. representatives and U.S. senators respectively who signed letters to the Obama administration opposing Atlantic drilling: 53, 12

Total number of local, state and federal officials who have taken a public stance against offshore oil and gas development: more than 600

Date on which U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina became the first Republican federal lawmaker from a directly affected state to oppose Atlantic drilling: 4/20/2015

Year in which the Obama administration is expected to issue a revised proposal for offshore drilling leases after considering public comments: 3/2016

(Click on figure to go to source.)