Governors Lead Bipartisan Effort to Prevent Dangerous Seismic Testing and Offshore Drilling

Trump Administration Approves Offshore Airgun Use, Governor Carney Joins Atlantic Seaboard Governors Urging Protection for Our Coast

WILMINGTON, Del. – Following the announcement that the Trump Administration authorized airgun use in waters off the East Coast, Governor John Carney and a group of bipartisan governors today urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to halt harmful seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

“As the governors of ten states on the Atlantic seaboard, we write to reiterate our strong opposition to seismic airgun surveys and oil and gas drilling off our coasts,” the governors wrote. “These activities pose an unacceptable and unnecessary threat to our coastal ecosystems and coastal economies.”

Today’s letter was signed by the following governors: Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Governor John Carney of Delaware; Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina; Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York; Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland; Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina; Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey; Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia; and Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

In November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Fisheries department issued incidental harassment authorizations (IHAs) for seismic airgun surveys to five companies searching for oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic. The decision follows months of vocal opposition from states along the East Coast, which have repeatedly urged the federal government to protect coastal tourism and fisheries by preventing seismic testing and offshore drilling.

In a letter sent today, the governors urged the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce to deny all permit applications for seismic testing, exclude the waters off the East Coast from the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for offshore drilling, avoid issuing further IHAs for seismic airgun surveys and prevent any future offshore drilling efforts in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Drilling in the Atlantic would pose significant threats to Delaware’s natural resources and our economy,” said Governor John Carney. “I am proud to stand with fellow Atlantic state governors in opposition to seismic testing and drilling for oil and gas off our coasts. There’s too much at risk for Delaware and the Atlantic Seaboard to allow this to go unchallenged.”

The full letter is available here.

Seismic testing and offshore drilling pose significant economic and environmental threats to communities along the Atlantic Coast, which generate more than $98 billion in gross domestic product each year. Seismic airgun pulses can deplete fish populations that are vital for commercial and recreational fishing industries and offshore drilling increases the risk of catastrophic oil spills, which devastate marine life and tourism and hurt coastal economies. Hundreds of tourism associations, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors’ bureaus, trade groups, businesses, elected officials and local governments have formally opposed seismic testing and offshore drilling.

For more information visit de.gov/nodrilling.

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy


Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy

Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207 will prohibit and prevent offshore drilling in Delaware’s coastal waters

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207, two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting Delaware’s coasts from offshore drilling. These pieces of legislation will help maintain high-quality coastline waters and protect thousands of jobs supported by Delaware’s coastal tourism industry. Coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion to Delaware’s economy.

Senate Bill 200 prohibits drilling for oil and natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters, and precludes DNREC from issuing any permits in connection with the development of offshore drilling infrastructure. Senate Bill 207 opposes drilling off Delaware’s coast and directs certain state officials and agencies to enforce Delaware’s rights relating to offshore drilling under federal and state environmental laws.

“We have a responsibility to care for our coasts, and in turn, protect our state’s environment and economy,” said Governor Carney. “Offshore drilling presents a threat to the health of our coastal communities that we can’t ignore, and these two pieces of legislation will help prevent drilling in our waters. A large part of Delaware’s tourism industry depends on clean coasts, and Delawareans and visitors alike will benefit from these protections signed into law today. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for this bipartisan effort and to advocates for their tireless work to protect Delaware’s coasts, environment and economy.”

“Promoting clean alternative energy development in the Atlantic region, along with the continued conservation of our marine and estuarine habitats, and the success of our coastal economy are of the utmost importance to the citizens of Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

“The state’s beaches are a treasure, which the National Resource Defense Council has consistently rated as the cleanest on the East Coast,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “They are important for the tourism industry in the state, and it is essential to maintain their good health.”

“Standing against offshore drilling is a no-brainer for Delaware,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “Washington, D.C. may have forgotten disasters like those in the Gulf, Alaska and Santa Barbara – but I haven’t, and neither have bipartisan leaders across our state. Delaware’s beaches are some of the cleanest in the country, are home to a unique marine ecosystem, and are vital to our state’s crucial tourism industry. It takes just one accident to change all of that overnight. Our economy, our budget, and our environment can’t afford that mistake.”

“I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this important bipartisan effort,” said Senator Ernesto “Ernie” Lopez. “Defending our beautiful beaches and our unique coastal environment from the potential negative impact of off-shore drilling is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue: It is a Delaware issue and has been of the highest priority for the people of the 6th District and to me as their State Senator.”

“We welcome millions of visitors to Rehoboth and Dewey every year. They come here for our award-winning, pristine beaches and clean air. They contribute billions to our local economy. All of that could be jeopardized by offshore drilling,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “Delawareans have to stand together against something that could do so much damage to our community and our state, and that’s exactly what the General Assembly did by overwhelmingly passing these bills.”

“The risks involved with offshore drilling are greater than many people realize. There have been 44 major oil spills off the United States coast since 1969, several with catastrophic effects on the environment and local economy,” said Representative Debra Heffernan. “We can’t allow that to happen to Delaware, and we have to take whatever steps we can to protect our environment.”

“I am thrilled that Delaware is taking this important step, and I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of this bipartisan bill,” said Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle. “Our coastline is a critical natural resource, and the risk of damaging our waterways through a drilling accident far outweighs the benefit of any oil that could be extracted.”

“It means a lot to see and hear leadership at the state level,” said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns. “It validates our concerns and efforts to maintain a clean and healthy coast that is vital to our economy and families who come to enjoy our beautiful beaches. In publicly opposing offshore drilling activities, Governor Carney is standing with our coastal communities, who have the most to lose and who have overwhelmingly opposed these efforts.”

“The City of Lewes is very pleased that Governor Carney is signing SB 200 and SB 207,” said Lewes Mayor Ted Becker. “Lewes was the first city to adopt a resolution opposing seismic testing – a precursor to offshore drilling – in November 2015. Since then the six other coastal communities, all members of the Association of Coastal Towns (ACT), have adopted similar resolutions as a demonstration of our collective serious concern regarding the potentially devastating impact offshore drilling could have on marine mammals and the extremely important economic contribution of tourism to the economy of our state.”

“The Delaware Coast and its estuaries form essential marine habitat for over 32 species of marine mammals and sea turtles,” said Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute Executive Director. “Many of these species are endangered, and three large whale species are experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event. These magnificent creatures need to be protected from the devastation of harmful oil and gas drilling, which even in its daily operation will contaminate the marine ecosystem, and in the event of a spill would be catastrophic. MERR is very pleased to see these important bills signed into law today, and for the far reaching protection they will provide for our coastal waters and the welfare of marine species.”

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Governor Carney, Atlantic Governors Issue Joint Letter to U.S. Department of Interior Opposing Offshore Drilling

Bipartisan group includes Governors from Massachusetts to North Carolina; letter sent to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney joined a bipartisan group of seven Atlantic state governors in issuing a joint letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, opposing the Trump Administration’s plan to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Along with Governor Carney, the Governors of Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia signed the letter. The Governors requested an exemption from new oil and gas drilling off their states and the entire Atlantic Coast, similar to the exemption offered to the State of Florida.

Read the full letter here. The following are excerpts:

“Like Florida, each of our states has unique natural resources and an economy that is reliant on tourism as an essential driver. We support the notion of energy diversity, but the environmental and economic importance of the Atlantic Ocean must be weighed against the potential unintended consequences of these types of activities.”

“Not only are ocean and oceanside resources at risk, but also nearby bays, estuaries, coastal communities, iconic natural areas, and ports. The irreversible impact on ecosystems including marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, and other aquatic life that inhabit the ocean offshore is gravely concerning, as is potential risk and harm to our state’s economies, our natural resources, our military installations, and our residents.”

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Governor Carney Requests Meeting with Secretary Zinke to Discuss Offshore Drilling Plan
Governor Carney Releases Statement on Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Plan
Governor Carney to Trump Administration: No Drilling in the Atlantic


Governor Carney to Trump Administration: No Drilling in the Atlantic

Governor opposed oil and gas leasing in federal waters off Delaware, or elsewhere in Atlantic

WILMINGTON, Del.In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Governor John Carney opposed drilling for oil and gas in federal waters off the coast of Delaware, or elsewhere in the Atlantic. President Trump in April issued an executive order to review restrictions on offshore drilling imposed by the Obama Administration. The following are excerpts from Governor Carney’s letter last week to Secretary Zinke:

“Delawareans rely upon and enjoy our abundant coastal resources. Over 60,000 jobs directly or indirectly support the fishing, tourism and recreation sectors. Coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion in economic production to the state. According to a 2012 analysis performed by the Delaware Sea Grant, more than 10 percent of the state’s total employment, taxes and production value can be attributed to coastal related activities. Preserving the coastal environment is essential to Delaware’s economic well-being, as well as vital to maintaining a high quality of life for its residents. The majority of coastal residents perceive offshore oil and gas exploration as a threat to their communities and livelihoods.”

“We as a nation share the responsibility to ensure that energy decisions do not exacerbate the problems associated with climate change that are already being witnessed. The State of Delaware stands firm in its commitment to alternative energy development, and has prioritized working with neighboring states to develop a comprehensive strategy that will maximize the environmental and economic development benefits of adopting renewable energy. As such, I am opposed to any oil and gas leasing in federal waters offshore of Delaware, or elsewhere in the Atlantic.”

Download Governor Carney’s letter to Secretary Zinke here.

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Related news:
Governor Carney’s Statement on President Trump’s Order to Review Offshore Drilling Restrictions


Delaware boaters asked to help map recreational boating activity in Mid-Atlantic Ocean via survey

DOVER (May 17, 2013) – Delaware recreational boaters have been asked to play a prominent role in helping to map future recreational Atlantic Ocean use by participating in the  2013 Mid-Atlantic Boater Survey. The survey is being conducted via the mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) to gain valuable and viable information about recreational boating activities throughout the region.

 Over 5,000 invitations went out to boaters in Delaware earlier this week asking them to take part in the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Boater Survey, with invitations also mailed to boaters from Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. Information collected through the survey will be translated into maps and incorporated into MARCO’s online mapping tool to support ocean planning efforts in the region, including Delaware’s Atlantic waters.

Recreational boaters contacted for the survey were randomly selected from state and federal boating databases. Those who agree to participate will be emailed a short survey each month (June through November) asking them to describe their most recent boating trip from the previous month, including information about the location, duration and time aboard, activities such as angling and sailing, and money spent. 

The survey will yield valuable data in planning for how Atlantic Ocean resources are utilized and coordinated in the years ahead, and help minimize and avert potential user conflicts on the ocean, said Sarah Cooksey, administrator, DNREC’s Delaware Coastal programs and one of the state’s MARCO delegates. DCP encourages Delaware boaters contacted this week to participate in the survey, as data gathered will help with marine planning for the Delaware Bay and for Delaware’s Atlantic waters within the three-mile offshore limit, according to Ms. Cooksey. 

ABOUT MARCO:
With traditional coastal and ocean uses expanding, and new uses emerging, pressure grows to ensure sustainable growth of both current and future uses and resources. As such, it is important that ocean managers have the best available information about when and where uses take place in order to minimize conflicts. To address these challenges, and to ensure that future generations enjoy healthy and productive ocean ecosystems, the governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Virginia committed to a comprehensive, regional approach, creating the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean. The five MARCO states will work to maintain and improve the health of the Atlantic ocean and coastal resources, and ensure that they continue to contribute to the high quality of life and economic vitality of our region’s communities well into the future. 

For more information about 2013 Mid-Atlantic Boater Survey, please contact Lorraine Jordan, Urban Coast Institute, Monmouth University at 732-263-5662 or ljordan@monmouth.edu or visit the survey website.  

CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902, or Kate Fleming, Delaware Coastal Programs, 302-739-9283 

Vol. 43, No. 207

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