An organization that representing thousands of East Coast businesses and families sent a letter asking President Obama to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic before he leaves office.
In the letter sent to the president dated Dec. 13, the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, which represents 35,000 business and 500,200 commercial fishing families, said Obama has the authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to remove areas in the outer continental shelf from leasing to offshore drilling.
The signatures of the letter come from Maine to Florida. They say offshore oil and gas endeavors are “fundamentally at odds” with their economies, as their livelihoods are intertwined with healthy ecosystems and clean waters. The letter states their industries, including fishing and tourism, support 1.4 million jobs and contribute $95 million to the country’s gross domestic product.
“As a coastal business and property owner, any thought of offshore drilling scares the heck out of me. The survival of my business, and in fact my entire town, depends on the coastal waters being clean. Any oil contamination, or even talk of contamination, would destroy our tourist-driven market,” said Kevin Scalia, owner of Hatteras Island Boardsports in Avon.
The Obama administration, through the Interior Department, removed leasing of Atlantic waters to offshore drilling until 2022. Among the reasons cited for the decision were concerns from coastal communities.