Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) lead a letter from the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation to Governor Charlie Baker urging him to join other governors across the country in formally opposing the Trump Administration’s newly released offshore drilling plan.
In the letter, the members stated, “The Trump Administration’s decision to pursue a massive expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling – while at the same time weakening drilling safety regulations – is short-sighted and puts many of the Commonwealth’s communities in harm’s way. We urge you to join both Democratic and Republican governors throughout the country in formally opposing the Trump Administration’s offshore drilling plan.”
Joining Moulton and Markey are Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Representatives Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch, Niki Tsongas, William Keating, Joseph P. Kennedy III, and Katherine Clark. Full text of the letter can be found below.
Dear Governor Baker:
Now that the Department of the Interior (DOI) has released its draft proposed five-year offshore drilling plan, we write to encourage you to join the governors of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon, New Hampshire, Florida, and Washington in formally opposing efforts by the Trump Administration to open up new areas of our nation’s coastline to drilling, including federal waters off of Massachusetts and the East Coast. Allowing offshore oil and gas drilling anywhere on the East Coast would pose a serious threat to our oceans and the economic viability of the Commonwealth’s coastal communities, tourism and shore-side businesses that rely on healthy marine resources.
The success and growth of the Massachusetts economy is directly connected to maritime industries that rely on healthy oceans. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2015, commercial fishing in Massachusetts support 83,000 jobs, with a landed value of more than $550 million, generating $1.9 billion in income, $7.3 billion in sales and $2.9 billion in value-added impacts. In addition, tourism in Massachusetts generates tens of billions of dollars of economic value each year and supports well over 100,000 jobs. The economic effects of our ocean economy are extensive, providing a source of income and jobs for commercial and recreational fishermen, vessel manufacturers, restaurants, and other businesses throughout Massachusetts, all of which would be threatened by allowing offshore drilling and the risk of an oil spill off our coast.
The economic and environmental threats posed by oil and gas development are well documented. In 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster caused a ten-year projected economic loss of $8.7 billion in fisheries, including 22,000 lost jobs. BP ultimately paid out more than $60 billion associated with cleanup, compensation, and fines. At the same time that the Trump Administration is proposing to massively expand offshore drilling, they are also weakening drilling safety regulations put in place following the BP spill. Marine ecosystems are particularly sensitive to pollution and other man-made disturbances, and a spill anywhere off the East Coast would threaten Massachusetts’ economy and environment.
We commend you for previously writing to Secretary Zinke stating the Commonwealth’s opposition to opening areas off of Massachusetts to offshore drilling. Now that DOI’s draft proposed five-year offshore drilling plan has been released, we hope that you will oppose this plan that would allow drilling off of Massachusetts as well as off of nearly every single mile of coastline in the United States.
The Trump Administration’s decision to pursue a massive expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling – while at the same time weakening drilling safety regulations – is short-sighted and puts many of the Commonwealth’s communities in harm’s way. We urge you to join both Democratic and Republican governors throughout the country in formally opposing the Trump Administration’s offshore drilling plan. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.