Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is voicing his opposition to a plan to explore for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic Region's Outer Continental Shelf, calling on the federal government to put a stop to the plan.
In January, the leasing plan went public just as the federal government was setting limits for oil exploration through 2022. The plan would allow rigs to explore as close as 50 miles from the coastlines of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
"The idea of allowing oil exploration along the Atlantic Coast is beyond foolish," Frosh said in a March 30 media release. "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."
Frosh told the Interior Department that not only the exploration but also the extraction and transport of oil and gas would pose risks to the state's environment, $4 billion fisheries industry, and tourism, which brings $1 billion into the state every year.
"There is just no way to eliminate the risks of spills and blowouts," Frosh told the Interior Department. "The cumulative effect of small leaks can be as damaging as huge disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout. Maryland's tourism economy, fishing economy and natural resources would all be at risk if this unnecessary plan moves forward.. The BP Deepwater Horizon spill showed that disasters know no state boundaries. Our nation has never allowed drilling in the Atlantic's Outer Continental Shelf for a good reason: It's a horrible idea. Let's not start now."
For the full text of Frosh's speech, visit www.oag.state.md.us/Press/offshoredrilling.pdf.