OC Mayor and Council Vote to Oppose Offshore Drilling - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

OC Mayor and Council Vote to Oppose Offshore Drilling

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(Photo: CBS) (Photo: CBS)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- The Ocean City Mayor and Council voted unanimously Monday night to voice opposition against offshore drilling on Maryland's coast. 

This comes after a federal proposal released early this year allowing offshore oil and gas development in the mid-Atlantic region. Ocean City is among about 80 other municipalities deciding to show support against doing blast testing to find if there are natural gas deposits.

Although Ocean City officials oppose the drilling, the final decision still lays in the hands of the federal government.

City Engineer Terry McGean said there is mixed evidence as to what impact the drilling has on the marine environment, a major economic industry in Ocean City.

"This certainly has the potential, could possibly harm the fish," he explained. "At the best case, could be driving the fish away while the testing is going on."

Environmental groups like the Surfrider Foundation were at the meeting Monday to voice similar concerns - including the possibility of an oil spill.

However, William Helebrand, a visiting fisherman, isn't convinced the plan is all bad.

"In my opinion I agree that it has to be done, it's a major component in [the oil] industry," he said. "As far as the commercial side, your fishing, your restaurants that make their living off of it, yes, I do feel that that's going to be a negative against them and hopefully the impact isn't big enough that it would cause their industry to falter."

McGean said potential pros could be creating jobs and discovering useful oil on America's shores. However, he also said those do not outweigh the cons.

"If you look at what you estimate could potentially be out there off the entire east coast, it's basically enough to run to meet uh this countries crude oil needs for a single year," he hypothesized.

Town leaders said if the decision does move forward to perform offshore drilling, they hope the federal government will listen to their concerns about where and when the drilling occurs.

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