The nine Surfrider chapters in the Mid-Atlantic started 2018 out with a bang by heading to Washington DC for Surfrider’s Recreational Hill Day, talking to elected officials about the issues important to our members. We visited more than 40 offices, covering most of our region’s coastal federal representatives.
One of the main topics during our Hill Day was offshore oil drilling, as our volunteers continue to push back on the Trump Administration’s proposal to extend offshore drilling to all five states in our region. Each Mid-Atlantic chapter did their part to stop this terrible policy by hosting Hands Across the Sand events, sending thousands of comments into the federal government, and showing up for public hearings.
On the programmatic side of activities, many Mid-Atlantic chapters jumped into our relatively new Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) program. The region started 2018 with only a few member restaurants, but now counts more than 50! That number is sure to grow in 2019 as volunteers continue to push OFR.
Some specific victories this year include: Surfrider New Jersey chapters passing single-use bag bans in Beach Haven and Stone Harbor, and a balloon release ban in Asbury Park. The NJ chapters also defeated a weak and loophole-riddled statewide bag fee law by convincing the Governor to veto it.
Surfrider’s Eastern Long Island Chapter worked with local and state governments to properly warn beachgoers about the dangers of coming into contact with blue-green algae blooms. The Ocean City chapter conducted a successful “Strawless Summer” campaign with scores of eateries participating.
We had a frustrating setback for Regional Ocean Planning this year, when the Trump Administration repealed the National Ocean Policy, putting multiple years’ worth of progress in jeopardy. Surfrider will continue to tout this common sense idea—that has already proven effective—into 2019.
Surfrider often has to play the long game, and in 2019 we are hoping to finally win a multiple year campaign against a proposed fracked natural gas pipeline running through the NY/NJ harbor. Both the NYC and Jersey Shore chapters have been hard at work fighting that proposal throughout 2018.
In October, more than 20 Mid-Atlantic volunteers met for our annual East Coast chapter conference in Virginia Beach, gaining skills and knowledge from Surfrider staff and other volunteers. It was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all the good work that happened in 2018, and plan for more wins in 2019.
There were many, many, many more examples of good work that couldn’t fit in this blog! Please join us in 2019 and help protect your state’s oceans, waves, and beaches!