Seismic Testing Update
The grassroots effort to stop seismic testing off the Atlantic coast has been doing well. Rehoboth is considering a resolution and will work on one in their next workshop meeting in January. Dewey Beach will vote on a resolution tomorrow (Saturday the 11th) at their town meeting. Oceana, Assateague Coastal Trust, Sussex Progressive Community, Delaware Surf Fishing and Surfrider Foundation Delaware Chapter have all been putting in a lot of time trying to get the word out. There was an article yesterday in Facing South …Bipartisan group of federal lawmakers urges halt to seismic testing permits for Atlantic oil and gas. These lawmakers are asking the BOEM to take a closer look at not only environmental impacts, but economic as well. They are realizing the impacts will outweigh the benefits, of which there are little.
Below is a letter to the editor written by Joanne Cabry from the Sussex Progressive Community about the issues associated with seismic testing and offshore drilling. The seismic testing survey results are posted below that letter. I am pleased to say very few people think this is a good idea. If you are not aware of, or want more facts about this issue, watch the presentation by Matt Heim of the Assateague Coastal Trust. If you know anyone on the town councils of Bethany, Fenwick Island, and South Bethany, as well as any other town in Delaware please talk to them about working on a resolution saying NO to seismic testing off of our coast. This will impact the entire State of Delaware. If you have the time attend your own town council meeting and ask them to work on a resolution. Lewes was the first to vote yes for a resolution saying NO to seismic testing. Towns up and down the east coast are doing the same. Asking their state lawmakers to vote NO and tell the BOEM and federal government we do not want seismic testing off the Atlantic Coast. This is a grass roots effort by the people for the people, which is how things should work.
I attended the Rehoboth Commissioners workshop meeting on Dec. 7 where Matt Heim, outreach coordinator for Assateague Coastal Trust, gave a presentation on the Interior Department’s proposal to allow seismic testing and drilling off the Atlantic coast. The ensuing discussion included the risk factor of oil spills.
It is natural to first think of the 200-million-gallon BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. But as Mr. Heim pointed out, “Small spills are regular occurrences, and hundreds of small spills have happened since 2010. It is not a matter of ‘if’ there will be a spill, but ‘when.’”
A July 12, 2015, AP press release stated “…a crude oil spill of up to 101,000 gallons on the Santa Barbara coast in May hit beaches this week and tar ball samples were taken from about 170 miles away… About a fifth of the oil flowed into the ocean, killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals, mostly sea lions, and closing state beaches. On August 6 there was another release indicating the May oil spill may have released 143,000 gallons.”
A spill of this size doesn’t even make the news on the East Coast, but what if one occurred off Virginia Beach, which is 120 nautical miles from Rehoboth? How many vacationers would cancel their reservations if the news reported a spill off Tidewater, resulting in tar balls and dead mammals and birds on Delaware’s beaches from Lewes to Fenwick.
To those who believe the risk is worth it because of oil independence, jobs and improving the local economy, please check the facts. U.S. oil companies currently export over 4 million gallons of oil a day because it is in their best economic interest. There is no guarantee that oil drilled of Delmarva would stay in the country.
The companies doing the seismic testing and drilling bring their own crews and when they are finished they move on. There is no economic benefit to Delaware or our towns — and we would be taking 100 percent of the risk.
It is time to join Lewes and Ocean City, Md., and say, “Not Off Our Coast.” Learn how to get your town or organization to pass a resolution at www.actforbays.org or contact Matt Heim at firstname.lastname@example.org.