Eastern Coastal Mayors and Elected Leaders Oppose Offshore Drilling, Urge Greater Protection of Our Oceans

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Environment America

Today, dozens of local elected leaders from up and down the East Coast sent the Trump administration and Congress a letter urging them to protect the Atlantic Ocean  and our coasts from threats including offshore drilling. The Trump Administration recently proposed both opening U.S. coastal waters to drilling and rolling back rules that prevent oil spills.

“My town relies on a clean ocean for tourism, fishing, and our way of life. Opening our coasts to offshore drilling would not be in the best interest of my constituents — which is why I felt compelled to speak out on this issue,” said Portland, Maine, Mayor Ethan Strimling.

The 91 officials who signed the letter released by Environment America represent cities from Bangor, Maine to Miami Beach, Florida. Transcending traditional geographic differences, they all oppose coastal drilling and underwater seismic testing — and they call for protecting ocean habitats and fully-funding the agencies that manage and defend our coasts.

“Our coastal communities understand the value of our oceans,” said Kelsey Lamp, Oceans Associate with Environment America. “Whether it’s marvelling at a whale miles offshore or enjoying delicious seafood on the pier, healthy oceans are essential to our well-being and quality of life here on the coast. These local elected leaders understand that, and that’s why they are calling for better stewardship of our oceans.”

Opening the Atlantic to offshore drilling could also spell disaster for ocean ecosystems — especially since the Administration recently proposed rolling back safety rules implemented after the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, which work to prevent future catastrophic spills.

“Offshore drilling threatens the beautiful and pristine beaches that are integral to our economy and our sense of community,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

Our oceans are vast, so protecting them takes resources. That’s why coastal elected leaders also spoke out to protect NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) budget. Without appropriate funding, marine scientists and managers will be unable to help sustain the health of our oceans and the wildlife such as dolphins, whales and sea turtles that depend on it.

“Healthy oceans are essential for life on earth,” said Lamp. “We owe it to ourselves and our children to protect them for years to come.”

Additional quotes:

Councilwoman Nikki Fontana, North Myrtle Beach, SC:  

“Our beautiful coastal city of North Myrtle Beach relies on our beaches to draw in visitors from around the world. As a Councilwoman for our city, by not standing up against offshore drilling and seismic testing, this would be putting our entire city’s livelihood at risk and setting us up for disaster. I took an oath when elected by this city to make the best decisions to my ability and this is one decision that I stand very firm on and will never stop fighting for!”

Mayor Gregory Oravec, Port St. Lucie, FL:

“In Port St. Lucie, Florida, we understand the value of water and know that it is not just essential to life on earth, it essential to our way of life.  Our waters power our economy and are at the heart of what makes our community special. As a result, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in water quality and preservation initiatives.  Unfortunately, when we are talking about the vastness of our oceans, we know this local investment cannot succeed on its own. That’s why we are joining with our brother and sister communities from sea to shining sea to call upon our federal government to do the right thing—to invest, on a national scale, the time and money necessary to keep our oceans safe, clean, alive and well!”

Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Cambridge MA:

“As someone who grew up in a beach town on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and has spent the past 25 years living in the Boston area and visiting Cape Cod in the summers, I am keenly aware of the fragility and value of our coastal ecosystems and strongly oppose offshore drilling. We need to be switching to renewable energy to stave off coastal flooding and sea level rise as a result of climate change, not exploiting our oceans to drill for more dirty energy.”

Council Vice President Sharon Middleton, Baltimore, MD:

“Offshore drilling would be devastating to the beautiful parkland, communities, and beaches,  that millions of families have enjoyed, and are now historical preserved landmarks throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland shorelines.  We can not make foolish, impulsive decisions at the request of this present Administration.”