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Rachel Richardson,
Environment America

66 business owners in 12 states tell President Obama: Atlantic must be permanently protected from drilling

New letter highlights potential devastating economic losses to coastal industry
Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.– More than five dozen coastal businesses up and down the East Coast are asking President Barack Obama to permanently protect the Atlantic coast from offshore drilling and exploration before leaving office to protect east coast beaches and business’s bottom lines.

 According to the 66 business owners in 12 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina), the short-term economic benefits of offshore drilling are not worth the long-term damages to coastal communities, coastal tourism and fishing.

The letter to President Obama states: “For the sake of our beaches, coastal communities and the significant boon coastal tourism provides to our economy, we the undersigned local business leaders strongly urge you to ensure permanent protection of the Atlantic Ocean by withdrawing it from all future oil and gas development. The potential economic losses that offshore drilling would bring to our existing coastal economies and the potential for damage to treasured coasts and marine resources would be devastating. Nearly 1.4 million jobs and $95 billion in gross domestic product rely along the Atlantic coast rely on clean beaches and a healthy ocean environment. Our clean beaches, coasts and oceans are worth too much to risk to the dangers of offshore drilling.”

The statement continues: “Our coasts are worth too much to risk. We thank you for recognizing the concerns of coastal communities and small businesses in your decision to exclude the Atlantic from the 2017-2022 oil and gas leasing program. Rather than exposing our beaches, families and businesses to the inherent risks of drilling, the administration ensured protection of our beaches and tourism industry for the next five years. With the long-term fate of the Atlantic Ocean yet to be decided, we call on you to ensure these vital and spectacular resources are protected for generations to come by permanently protecting the Atlantic Ocean from all future oil and gas development.”

This letter follows the Obama administration’s November 18 announcement that would halt oil and gas leasing for the next five years in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the Alaskan coast and stand by a previous plan to prevent drilling for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic Ocean off four southeastern states.  These leading businesses join the growing list of stakeholders including members of Congress, scientists, environmentalists and editorial boards calling on the President to go even further to protect both the Arctic and Atlantic coasts by using his powers as President to permanently ban offshore drilling and seismic testing before leaving office.

“Barring Atlantic drilling for the next five years was the right call,” said Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling Program. “Now President Obama should listen to the business leaders and coastal communities that are calling for permanent protection and ensure our beaches and coastal economies are preserved for future generations.”

Listed alphabetically by state, the full list of businesses signing the letter are:

Connecticut (Anne Cheng of Kajesta LLC, Craig Chessari of Master Woodworker); Delaware (Bruce Troutman of Heritage Rentals LLC); Florida (Mari Mennel-Bell of JazzSLAM, William Cannon of Predator Services, Ronnie Bolling of SouthStar Capital LLC, Ross Kelson of GagetsGo.com, Deborah London of RE/MAX Preferred, Martin of Bookbuilders New York Inc, Pam Worsham of Cocoa Beach Parasail, John Thomas of Thomas Enterprises, Patricia DeLuca of Rick’s Custom Painting, Julia Meadows of 341 Lofts LLC, Marcia Hoodwin of Accents Away, Laurie Murphy of Emerald Coastkeeper Inc, Benjamin Joannou Jr. of J&B Importers Inc, Eric West of Eagle Yachts, Pamela Hare of Gates Management Services Inc, Alan Bock of Mellon Patch Inn, Ella Dragif); Massachusetts (Leda Zimmerman of RiverRun Media, Jeff Miner of Greeneffects Building & Design, Jonathan Kava of Green Homes Carpet Cleaning, Donya Melanson of Donya Melanson Associates); Maryland (Jamie Agins of Jamie Agins Art Glass, Joan Gugerty of Heartworks Wellness, Robby Roberts of Pure Board Shop); New Hampshire (Jennifer Burr of Jennifer Burr Gardens); North Carolina (Erin Whittle of Erin Whittle Photography, Emily Barlas of Flytrap Brewing, Michelle Dorer of Ashtanga Yoga Center, Micki Tucker of The Pink Palace of Topsail, Christine Lamb of Pecan Tree Inn, Danielle Bourgeois of Sweetwater Surf Shop, Candace Young of Bay River Pottery, Aurelie Ward of Health-Ward Group LLC, Dr. Barbara Francis-Heckman and Nancy Francis-Heckman of Beaufort Pet Provisions Inc, Sharyn Smith of Outer Banks Yoga, Robert Rust of Waterbug Tours, Patricia Davis of Tierra Fina, Shawn Deane of Secret Spot Surf Shop, Chris Marik of Ocean Atlantic Rentals, Megan Vaughan of Cola Vaughan Realty, Chelsea Czuchra of Inner Ear Music, Jo Pickett of Crystal South Surf Camp, Laura Sturgell of Crystal Coast Cuisine, Jessica Moody of Village Yoga, Mary Baggett of Four Seasons Management Services and Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Michael Paul of Hot Wax Surf Shop, Georgia Mason of Georgia Mason Art, Ben Elliott of Custom Audio, Katherine Bottjen of Sail Outer Banks, Tricia Stopowski of Wild About Nature OBX, Greg Hamby of Cypress Moon Inn); New York (Abraham Rozman of Canary Express, Jay Braun of Melody Lanes LLC, Jerry & Judy Ravnitzky of Antiques); New Jersey (Linda Rossin of Linda Rossin Studios); Rhode Island (Lisa Davis of Crunchi Cosmetics); South Carolina (Dave Smith of Senior Express); Virginia (Mary Ann Calvert of Mary’s Custom Quilts, Marcia Carter of Massage by Marcia)

MEDIA CONTACT:  

Rachel Richardson, (971) 570-1161 or rachel@environmentamerica.org

Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264 or afrank@hastingsgroup.com.