Over 400,000 comments were submitted to the federal docket regarding, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) 5 year oil and gas drilling plan. Clean Ocean Action hosted a citizens hearing in Atlantic City on March 18th giving attendees the opportunity to verbally express their opposition to the oil drilling plan and lack of public involvement, while standing beside a table of four “BOEM panelists” represented by brick walls. All testimony from the citizens hearing was transcribed and submitted to the federal docket.
Representatives from Senators Menendez and Booker, Congressmen Pallone, and LoBiondo’s offices read compelling statements opposing BOEM’s plan to open the Atlantic Ocean for drilling. Mayor Suzanne Walter of Stone Harbor expressed the economic impacts and said that mayors of Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties are all opposed to this plan.
The fight to protect the Atlantic Ocean from oil drilling has been ongoing for decades. Adding insults to the sea, BOEM’s authorization for ocean blasting activities for oil and gas exploration may start as early as this summer. Thus, talking to BOEM is like talking to a brick wall. There has been clear public opposition, especially from New Jersey, which is why our coast was not included in the proposal, but BOEM continues to push to drill in the Atlantic. Opening up Florida to Virginia to oil development and exploration could have devastating effects on our beaches, marine life, tourism, fisheries, and coastal economies. Expanding offshore drilling will move the United States away from conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy. Instead, the United States will be moving towards a potentially catastrophic spill and the acceleration of climate change.
The comments will be reviews and a final Environmental Impact statement will be released along with meeting dates. We will keep you updated regarding the process and next steps. Wave of thanks for speaking for the sea!