Senators urge Dept. of Interior to protect Georges Bank off New England, fishing and tourism industries, beaches and coastlines on East Coast as it develops next Five Year Offshore Leasing Program
Boston (August 08, 2014) – As the Department of the Interior begins the process for developing its next five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and senators from other East Coast states are calling on the agency to continue protecting the region from offshore oil and gas drilling. The current Five Year Program protects states along the East Coast while making 75 percent of offshore oil and gas resources in federal waters available for development. Fishing off the East Coast produces approximately $1.75 billion in direct value and more than $4 billion in total economic activity each year. Tourism in East Coast states supports an estimated 800,000 jobs. The letter also points out that the majority of federal lands offshore in the Gulf of Mexico under lease have not yet been developed, despite the fact that the Gulf of Mexico holds the largest volumes of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf.
“Fishing, tourism, recreation and other activities generate billions of dollars in revenue for our states each year,” write the lawmakers in the letter to Secretary Sally Jewell. “Offshore drilling in federal waters anywhere in the Atlantic would threaten these important economic drivers in our states as well as our coastlines, beaches and environment with the dangers of an offshore oil spill.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
The letter is also signed by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), and Elizabeth Warren (D.Mass.).