By now everyone has seen the seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean articles over the past year, now the White House has opened the door to proposed drilling in the Atlantic Ocean off the Coast of Virginia to Georgia. This has been sought out by the oil industry for decades and fought just as much by the environmental groups. If you think this does not affect us in Delaware you are wrong. The lease sale will move forward announced the Department of the interior with a 5 year offshore lease plan from 2017 to 2022. These proposals will be available for public comment and could be scrapped. This is going to be battle on many fronts to both push it forward and stop.
Recently many of us attended meetings with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body, to help map out areas in the Atlantic Ocean by user groups or stakeholders. Fishing is a big industry, commercially and recreationally in these areas. There is a portal setup to allow groups to show what areas they use so these could be considered as off limits to the oil industry as well as the wind farm industry. This was the purpose of the midA RPB not as a regulatory group, but as an information gathering group. Several people who attended these meeting did not understand that fact and thought these people were trying to shut down the fishing areas. That is not the purpose of this group and now more than ever anglers need to look into adding information to this data portal to let this group know where they like to fish. One day you might head out and find an oil rig where you like to fish. The other thing we will need is MPA’s (marine protected areas) the reason we will need them is to protect areas from all industries vying for these leases in the Atlantic Ocean and to protect the wildlife. The fact remains the oil, wind and gas industry is going to be able to drill in the Atlantic Ocean if they have their way, and this data portal the MidA RPB has set up will help them know where they should not drill. (personally I don’t want to see drilling in the Atlantic ocean, I don’t have a problem with wind farms).
Before everyone gets all excited and flies off the handle, look at the MARCO Mid Atlantic Regional Council of the Ocean website and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (MidA RPB) website and see what is proposed for the Atlantic ocean. Only informed will you be able to help limit the areas used in our ocean for industry.