Last Monday, Baltimore became the largest city to formally oppose offshore drilling along the East Coast. These waters have been closed to drilling activities for more than 30 years, but now the Obama administration is considering opening up a wide stretch of the Atlantic, from Virginia to Georgia. Coastal states are speaking out and fighting for their voices to be heard in Washington, D.C. and in Governors’ mansions. The grassroots movement opposing offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting has rapidly gained momentum – over the past year and a half 86 municipalities have joined the cause.
Baltimore’s resolution comes on the heels of Ocean City, the first in Maryland to come out against oil exploration in the Atlantic. Baltimore and Ocean City are saying no to Big Oil and paving the way for more coastal communities in Maryland to speak up. Not only are local residents and business owners recognizing the threat of offshore oil activity, but elected officials are as well. Several Maryland officials have openly opposed offshore drilling and seismic blasting: former Governor Martin O’Malley, Attorney Brian General Frosh, Senators Mikulski and Cardin, and U.S. Representatives Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Edwards, Delaney, Cummings, and Van Hollen.
The Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay are the lifeblood of Ocean City, Baltimore, and the state of Maryland. Clean, healthy ocean ecosystems are critical to Maryland’s economy, and they are directly threatened by seismic testing and offshore drilling. Luckily, residents across the board are recognizing just how crucial pristine oceans are to the seafood, tourism, and recreation industries; industries which collectively bring in $5.4 billion in GDP and provide 90,000 jobs statewide. As Attorney General Frosh put it, “Maryland’s irreplaceable natural resources would be degraded at every step of this unnecessary and unwise process. From the testing and drilling needed to locate deposits; to the toll taken during extraction, transfer and transport of fuels; to the inevitable spills and blowouts that occur during drilling activity.”
Local Maryland officials recognize it. Fishermen and other businesspeople recognize it. Over 620,000 Baltimore citizens represented by the city council recognize it. It’s high time that Governor Hogan recognizes it as well.
For more information about Oceana’s efforts to #StopTheDrill off the East Coast, please visit www.StopTheDrill.org.