Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) joined U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) along with fishing, tourism, and environmental leaders at the New England Aquarium to oppose plans to open up new areas of New England coastline to offshore drilling, including Georges Bank, as proposed by the Trump Administration.
“I am glad to join Senator Markey today to oppose this reckless proposal,” Ferrante said. “Cape Ann relies on the health and beauty of the sea in order to prosper. Oil and gas exploration and drilling causes massive disruptions to marine ecosystems, even aside from the disastrous impacts of oil spills. We cannot gamble the livelihoods of our fishermen, our tourism industry, and the health of the environment in order to pad the pockets of fossil fuel executives. Drilling off the coast of New England would be disastrous for Cape Ann, the Commonwealth, and its citizens.”
Representative Ferrante presented Senator Markey with a copy of the letter she authored urging Governor Charlie Baker (R-Swampscott) to formally oppose the five-year offshore drilling plan. Joined by 54 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives and Senate, the letter emphasizes the potential economic damage to industries in Massachusetts that could be done by oil drilling off the shores of New England, highlighting the risks to the fishing industry and tourism.
“Massachusetts has a strong commercial fishing industry that would be at risk if this drilling were allowed to commence. The National Marine Fisheries Service reports that commercial fishing in Massachusetts supports 83,000 jobs while bringing more than $550 million to Massachusetts every year through income, sales, and value-added impacts,” the letter states. “Additionally, tourism in Massachusetts generates tens of billions of dollars of economic value each year and supports more than 100,000 jobs. This industry would also be threatened by the offshore drilling and the risk of an oil spill on our coast. Between the fishing industry, ancillary businesses, and the tourism industry, the economic loss to Massachusetts would be profound should the proposed drilling occur.”
The letter also raises environmental concerns with continued drilling contributing to the climate change as well as the disastrous environmental and economic impacts that an oil spill would bring to the region.
“As a society, we need to be focusing our resources on investing in clean energy rather than perpetuate our dependency on fossil fuels that accelerate climate change. As we have seen recently with the extreme weather patterns we have been experiencing such as the bomb cyclone and subsequent flooding, climate change is something we can no longer ignore. Continued drilling and use of fossil fuels will only exacerbate the dangerous weather patterns and flooding issues we have been seeing. Moreover, an oil spill off our coast would be devastating both economically and environmentally. Marine life is particularly sensitive to pollution and man-made disturbances to their ecosystems. With the declining fish populations that have led to restrictions placed on fishing quotas, it would be unwise to allow drilling that would further disturb the fishing populations.”
There will be a public meeting held on the drilling plan on February 27th from 3pm to 7pm at Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton Street. Public comments can be submitted online at https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/.