Offshore Drilling Would Risk Ruining Chesapeake Bay, Says Md. AG

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Oil_platform_P-51_(Brazil)The debate over whether to allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic is quietly bubbling to the surface. On Monday, Maryland’s Attorney General weighed in on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Brian Frosh invoked the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010, saying that there was “no way to eliminate the risks of spills.” The activities associated with finding oil could also put coastal wetlands at risk, Frosh said.

“The idea of allowing oil exploration along the Atlantic Coast is beyond foolish,” said the Democrat. “Half of the water in the Chesapeake Bay comes from the Atlantic Ocean. Beaches like the Assateague Island National Seashore are some of the most unspoiled in the nation. We would be jeopardizing the very assets we are working so hard to preserve.”

The offshore drilling proposal emerged in January. As part of the plan, rigs would be as close as 50 miles from shore off the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. The U.S. Department of the Interior is currently weighing the proposal. And Frosh warned that Maryland has its own set of regulations that would have to be met.

“If the production of oil and gas from the OCS necessitates the construction of facilities in Maryland, then a host of regulatory and enforcement programs would be implicated, including the Coastal Facilities Review Act, Maryland’s Tidal Wetlands License laws, Maryland’s Critical Area Law, and Maryland Clearinghouse Review,” he wrote.

 



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