From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
MIKULSKI PRAISES OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCEMENT REVERSING PLAN TO ALLOW EAST COAST DRILLING
Senator helped introduce legislation prohibiting East Coast drilling and fought against proposal that would harm Maryland coastal economy
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today praised the Obama Administration’s announcement that it plans to reverse its proposal to allow offshore drilling off the Atlantic Coast.
“I am absolutely opposed to offshore drilling and always will be. I fought tooth and nail to protect Maryland’s coastal economies from offshore drilling and am pleased the Administration has reversed its plan to allow drilling off the Atlantic Coast,” Senator Mikulski said. “As we saw after the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, when oil starts to leak it knows no boundaries. Drilling off the coast of Virginia and other states along the Eastern Seaboard could pose great risks to the coastal economy of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. Offshore drilling can devastate the environment, harming our unique and fragile coastline and wreaking havoc on the coastal communities whose economies rely heavily on tourism. I will keep fighting to protect Maryland’s beaches, precious waterways and tourism economy.”
The Administration’s proposal introduced last year, the Department of Interior’s 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program, would have opened up drilling along parts of the Mid- and South Atlantic Coast.
Senator Mikulski fought hard to prevent drilling off the Atlantic Coast, helping to introduce legislation led by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act. That legislation would prohibit the U.S. Department of the Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Ocean.
Senator Mikulski, along with East Coast Senators, wrote to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in 2014, urging the Administration to protect the East Coast from offshore oil and gas drilling. A copy of that letter is available here. The Senators followed up with a letter to Secretary Jewell last March where they cautioned that ‘offshore drilling anywhere in the Atlantic has the potential to adversely impact our states’ fishing, tourism and recreation industries, our coastlines and our environment.’ That letter is available here.
AG Frosh Statement on Obama Administration Decision to Abandon Atlantic Coast Oil Drilling Plan
From the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland:
Baltimore, MD (March 15, 2016) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh released the following statement in response to today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of the Interior has shelved plans to allow oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean Outer Continental Shelf:
“This is a terrific decision by President Obama. Our experience in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere around the country, and around the world, shows just what happens when oil drilling goes wrong. But even when it goes right, the effects are dangerous. Seismic testing harms marine life. Industrial activity destroys fragile coastal environments. Routine and inevitable leakage fouls water and kills fish and plants. There is simply no reason to play Russian roulette with the Chesapeake Bay or with vulnerable Atlantic Coast shoreline.”
Attorney General Frosh announced his strong opposition to drilling in Outer Continental Shelf last year, submitting written comments to the Interior Department in March 2015 arguing that Maryland’s natural resources would be degraded at every step in the unnecessary and unwise process of exploring for oil and gas in the Atlantic.
Many segments of Maryland’s economy would be placed at risk from the proposal, he noted, from the $4 billion mid-Atlantic fisheries to the $1 billion in tourism spending in Ocean City and Worcester County. The now-abandoned plan would have allowed rigs as close as 50 miles off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Attorney General Frosh said that his office is responsible for enforcing the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Act, the Coastal Facilities Review Act, the state Critical Area law and other environmental laws which could be impacted by drilling operations offshore.