This information and commentary concern all Americans regardless of what side of the political aisle one supports. I believe that most Americans feel our lives are enriched by a healthy environment that gives us so much joy. Joy that comes from our National Parks, camping facilities, wildlife refuges and our seaside resorts. One such resort along the Atlantic coastline is a quaint little town called Ocean City, Md. For many years Ocean City has been a popular vacation spot and a thriving year round residence. Ocean City and the other small towns in proximity have a robust year round population whose livelihoods rely on the resort and fishing industries. In fact, all along the Delmarva coast are many places similar to Ocean City. I would be remiss in not mentioning the renowned refuge of Assateague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. This barrier island spans the coast of Maryland and Virginia and is the home and refuge of beautiful beaches, wild ponies and other wildlife. Chincoteague’s famous pony run and auction every July bring visitors from around the world.
Since our current administration advocates for an increase in fossil fuel development, I felt compelled to point out the threat to the Delmarva coastline. Environmental Impact and Coastal Effects of Offshore Energy System Statements started as early as 1985. I found many on-line resources and after a few hours consolidated a few facts. In March of 2015, President Obama banned offshore drilling for 5 years citing the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Per a New York Times article of 12/20/16, President Obama announced is executive declaration to indefinitely ban offshore drilling from Norfolk, Va. to the Canadian border. NYT further says that President Trump is expected to roll back some executive orders or law suits to effect fossil fuel companies and jobs. “The declaration’s fate will almost certainly be decided by the federal courts”, said Patrick Parenteau, a Professor, Vermont Law School.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division of the US Dept. of Interior, recently denied 6 seismic survey permits in January, 2017. An article on seismic surveys from Earth Justice in January, 2017, titled, “Drilling Halted, The Atlantic Still Faces an Offshore Threat From the Oil Industry” is informative. Seismic surveys search for oil and gas deposits. Earth Justice describes seismic “blasting” as “air guns that discharge resounding booms at 12 to 16 second intervals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for months on end”. Oceana.org describes seismic surveys as airguns that are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. “Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These blasts are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time”. So even if offshore drilling is currently banned, several companies have requested seismic surveys to be completed as early as this year (Earth Justice). The effects of all marine and wild life would be devastating. For more information, see http://www.earthjustice.org/blog/2016-april/drilling-halted-the-atlantic-still-faces-an-offshore-threat; oceana.org/our-work/climate-energy/seismic-airgun-blasting/overview; and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, at http://www.boem.gov/Atlantic-Oil-and-Gas-Information/
This is an issue very dear to many and requires that we be diligent and pro-active. With the appropriate research hundreds of incidents of oil spills occur yearly. I cannot envision Ocean City, Assateague, Chincoteague, Bethany, Rehoboth and all our beautiful beaches and wildlife covered in thick black oil with the environment destroyed for years to come. Given the disregard for Standing Rock, Environmental organizations, a pro-fossil fuel director of EPA and the possible eradication of the EPA altogether, I beg we be diligent on this issue and not to become complacent. Alert your representatives, senators, congressmen, the White House and Environmental organizations. Tell them no to seismic surveys and never to offshore drilling. Thank you for your time.