Thursday 17 August 2017

Offshore Drilling (Atlantic) (5)

On August 16, 2017, on behalf of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Assateague Coastkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and more than 70 organizations, representing thousands of businesses and citizens, Southern Environmental Law Center submitted comments asking the Trump Administration to reject offshore drilling in the Atlantic. The comments said “Opening the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling poses a direct threat to the fragile and unique ecosystems of the southeast coast and to the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on our clean coastal resources.” The comments specifically argue against offshore drilling in the Southeast because: Coastal communities and governors in the region strongly oppose drilling on the coast; Drilling would harm the tourism and ocean economies along the coast; Drilling would threaten unique and sensitive shorelines, valuable salt marshes, barrier islands, productive marine habitats and fisheries, and numerous areas designated for state and federal protection; Drilling would conflict with many important uses for these ocean areas, including Department of Defense and NASA operations, commercial and recreational fisheries, and renewable energy development; Chronic pollution and the risk of catastrophic oil spills, especially given the lax oversight and regulatory environment, present too great of a threat to the Atlantic coast; The oil and gas industry’s economic projections are based on faulty assumptions that overestimate jobs and income, while discounting the existing tourism- and recreation-based economies; and The United States should invest in and develop clean, renewable energy sources instead of wasting resources on developing dirty energy sources. “There is overwhelming opposition to drilling from coastal…
The board voted to write a resolution against the commonwealth’s inclusion in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 2017-2022 leasing program. The bureau is the division of theU.S. Department of the Interior that oversees the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Chairman Spencer Murray and Supervisors Granville Hogg, Robert Duer and Larry LeMond voted yes to the resolution, while Supervisor Oliver Bennett abstained. The vote came after a presentation by Jay Ford, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Executive Director, who spoke on the detrimental effects offshore drilling would have on the Shore’s economy. “It’s a very important point that if we get included in this lease right now, the state, localities—you have given up any say that you will have in the future decision-making process,” said Ford. “At that point it is 100 percent in federal hands.” READ MORE... (Published in Delmarva Now, March 10, 2016)
Victory! Today, the Interior Department announced as part of a new five-year drilling plan, virtually all of the Arctic and the southeast Atlantic coast of the U.S. will become off limits for offshore drilling. Secretary Jewel Tweeted: BREAKING → Next 5-year offshore proposed plan protects the Atlantic for future generations.SJ Thanks to the hard work of the Assateague Coastal Trust, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and our many partners like Oceana who organized over 100 local cities and towns up and down the East Coast to oppose offshore drilling. Matt Heim from Assateague Coastal Trust worked tirelessly to get several coastal towns in Maryland and Delaware to pass resolutions against offshore drilling. On Virginia’s eastern shore, Jay Ford worked to get Accomack and Northampton counties to send their concerns to the Administration, the only Virginia counties that did. Matt, Jay and several residents traveled to Washington D.C. and Richmond to let officials know offshore drilling would be detrimental to our economy, culture and clean water. Last August, over a hundred kayaktivists gathered off the shore of Ocean City at Float for the Coast to protest offshore drilling during the annual Maryland counties meeting. "The Eastern Shore spoke with a united voice in defense of clean waters and we have been heard," Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Jay Ford.  “This is an incredible day for our coastal towns,” said Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director. “It represents the hard work of our Waterkeepers and thousands of people up and down the Atlantic coast. It protects some of…