State in ‘steadfast opposition’ to offshore oil and gas
This letter was sent to Donna Wieting, NOAA’s director of the Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, and Kelly Hammerle, national program manager for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. A copy was sent to The Calvert Recorder.
On behalf of Gov. Larry Hogan, I wanted to reiterate the state of Maryland’s steadfast opposition to the ongoing pursuit of offshore oil and gas exploration, leasing, development and production in the Atlantic Ocean. We are deeply concerned about the individual and cumu- lative impacts to marine species and habitats that may result from geological and geophysical surveys in the Atlantic and the recent issuance of incidental harassment authorizations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
We are not alone in this opposition. Recently, all five mid-Atlantic governors have made clear, both separately and through our partnership on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean that offshore drilling threatens our coastal economy and environment. The Maryland maritime transportation sector itself contributes $3.9 billion to the U.S. economy and pays $1.87 billion in wages in Maryland. The value of Maryland’s commercial fisheries landings in 2016 was $94.8 million. We cannot afford to jeopardize the natural resources and economies of Maryland for the mid-Atlantic region.
We urge you to heed the concerns and preferences expressed by many Marylanders and our region that clearly state the offshore oil and gas development poses far greater risk than we are willing to assume in the backyard of our nation’s most iconic natural places, the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays. As stated on numerous occasions, the state of Maryland believes that offshore oil and gas development and exploration are not in the best interest of our citizens, communities or industry. Exposing any one of these groups to the environmental risk posed by offshore oil and gas development does not make sense from any perspective or under any scenario.