By NH Sierra Club News release
Opponents to offshore drilling are planning to rally outside the official public meeting today (Monday, March 5) outside at the Holiday Inn, from at 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the corner of Main and Centre Streets in Downtown Concord.
Additionally, the public is encouraged to participate in the public meeting hosted by federal agency at the Holiday Inn from 3 p.m until 7 p.m. organized in a science fair format with rolling admission that will allow participants to speak with Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management officials directly but not as a group.
CONCORD, NH – A tidal wave of bipartisan opposition to the Trump administration’s controversial plan to expose America’s waters to offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration has come to New Hampshire.
The draft proposed drilling plan unveiled by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in January would drastically expand offshore drilling in nearly all of America’s public waters, including new areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Arctic, and auction off areas that were permanently protected under the Obama administration.
A public meeting hosted by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) fails to afford the public an opportunity to speak and hear the concerns of their neighbors, and as such, has attracted vocal criticism from across the nation, including New Hampshire.
Elected officials, including NH Governor Chris Sununu, Congressional Representatives Kuster and Shea-Porter, and U.S. Senators Shaheen and Hassan, have opposed offshore drilling because of the threat it would pose to New Hampshire’s fishing industry, public and private lands, marine wildlife, and tourism economy. State representatives from both inland and seacoast communities also provided clear arguments for opposition.
According to data from the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP), the direct ocean economy generated $1.4 billion in GDP. With over 53% of the state’s ocean economy in the ocean tourism and recreation sector alone, even a small oil spill off New Hampshire waters would decimate the state’s economy by negatively impacting visitation to the state’s beaches, the Hampton/Seabrook and Great Bay estuaries and open waters.
State Rep. Suzanne Smith, Hebron, NH (Grafton Co Dist 8) and member of the State Park System Advisory Council: “I oppose drilling off our coast for the love of wildlife. The Isle of Shoals, five miles off the NH coast is home to nesting populations of several seabirds. We’ve all seen photos of birds covered with a black oil slick from spills from Alaska to Mississippi.”
Rep. Renny Cushing, Hampton, NH (Rockingham Dist 21): “Drilling for oil off our precious 18 miles of seacoast is a threat to our state’s public health and economy. Hampton Beach is New Hampshire’s Crown Jewel and it should not be sacrificed to the oil companies. We will fight to protect our homes and our livelihoods.”
Rep. Mindi Messmer, Rye, NH (Rockingham Dist 24): “The Trump Administration’s plans to open nearly half of all coastal waters to offshore drilling and exploration is a threat to the environment and public health. The plan would expose the American people to potential public health threats in every coastal state caused by releases like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that caused widespread environmental damage. The damage was caused by the spill itself but also the chemicals used to attempt to clean up the devastation caused by the uncontrolled release turned the Gulf of Mexico into a giant experiment with unknown long-term effects.
The plan also ties the national economy to fossil fuel energy sources that contribute to climate change and sea level rise – which experts warn could create tens of millions of climate change refugees. U.S. Military and security experts warn that the number of climate change refugees will dwarf the number of refugees that have fled the Syrian conflict.
The time for bold action is now. As a nation, we have to commit to ending our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy. I support Tulsi Gabbard’s H.R.3671 to get us #OffFossiFuels Act to transition the U.S. to 100% renewable energy by 2035.”
Rep John Klose, Epsom (Merrimack Dist 21), an avid fisherman: “Don’t drill off the coasts anywhere.”
Catherine Corkery, Senior Organizing Representative and NH Sierra Club Director: “The effort to sell off New Hampshire’s coastline to the oil and gas industry is a threat to our coastal economies, wildlife, our climate, and our communities. Put simply, offshore drilling is a bad idea in Alaska, it’s a bad idea in Florida, and it’s a bad idea in New Hampshire. We’re here today to send a message to the Trump administration: No offshore drilling anywhere.”
Jonathan Scott, of Clean Water Action and a longtime Granite Stater: “For anyone still wondering about the corrosive and corrupting influence the oil and gas industry’s lavish political spending is having on this Administration, this short-sighted drilling policy is about as clear a case of democracy run aground as you’re ever likely to see. New Hampshire’s coastline may be small, but its voters are mighty. We expect there will be a heavy political price to pay this fall for those who support the idea of putting our economically invaluable and ecologically irreplaceable coasts up for sale to the highest bidder.”
Tom Irwin, Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation New Hampshire: “Oil or gas drilling on Georges Bank has never made any sense, not the first time it was proposed and judicially blocked in 1978 by CLF and not now. The value of New England’s continental shelf for fish and shellfish is too critical to expose to any risk, in particular a fossil fuel. Fossil fuel use is already doing enough damage to New England’s waters from increased water temperatures and acidity.”
Melissa Gates, Northeast Regional Manager for Surfrider Foundation: “Recreation and tourism is the heart of New Hampshire’s ocean economy. Not only would drilling and exploration for offshore oil and gas resources devastate the marine ecosystem, but it would also decimate our economy, and our coastal communities.”
Rob Werner, NH State Director of the League of Conservation Voters: “New Hampshire citizens have spoken strongly in opposition to the Administration’s offshore drilling proposal. The message is clear – the social, economic and environmental impacts due to a possible oil spill to our coastline is too great a risk.”
Local actions to oppose the plan were sponsored by drilling opponents: NH Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, the League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action, Environmental Group of The Resistance Seacoast, the Seacoast Science Center, and others, highlighted statements of opposition regarding the negative impacts of the proposal on New Hampshire’s coast and the Gulf of Maine.
FURTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:
With the backing of scientists, economists, clean energy leaders, local businesses, and the vast majority of Americans, the Obama administration permanently protected most of the Arctic Ocean and a chain of deep sea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from the Chesapeake Bay to Canada’s border, from dangerous and destructive offshore oil drilling. The entire Arctic and Atlantic was also removed from Obama’s five-year leasing plan, which the Trump administration has since scrapped, wasting taxpayer dollars and agency official’s time in restarting what is projected to be another two-year draft plan proposal process for Trump’s new five-year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
Americans are turning out in large numbers across the U.S. already to reject the Trump administration’s move to expand dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and energy exploration. That opposition includes tens of thousands of local businesses and hundreds of thousands of commercial fishing families that depend on clean coasts, as well as the majority of Americans, over 150 coastal municipalities, many Alaska Native communities, bipartisan lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels, and a host of faith and conservation leaders.
Opponents to offshore drilling are encouraged to rally outside the official public meeting today outside at the Holiday Inn, from at 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the corner of Main and Centre Streets in Downtown Concord.
Additionally, the public is encouraged to participate in the public meeting hosted by federal agency at the Holiday Inn from 3 p.m until 7 p.m. organized in a science fair format with rolling admission that will allow participants to speak with the BOEM officials directly but not as a group, reminiscent of The Northern Pass “public meetings” not too long ago.
THE DEADLINE FOR WRITTEN COMMENTS ON THIS BOEM PROPOSAL IS MARCH 9 at 11:59pm ET.
To submit comments visit https://www.regulations.gov/do
For more details on the BOEM meetings nationwide, visit: https://www.boem.gov/National-