Lewes City Council Votes to Show Opposition to Offshore Drilling - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes City Council Votes to Show Opposition to Offshore Drilling

Shot of seagull overlooking Lewes Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann, WBOC) Shot of seagull overlooking Lewes Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann, WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- In a symbolic vote on Monday, the Lewes City Council voted to pass a resolution opposing offshore seismic testing. This vote makes the city the first municipality in Delaware to voice their opposition to the offshore drilling process. 

In the vote, Lewes joined approximately 90 other coastal towns, along the east coast, to voice its opposition to plans from the Department of Interior to establish drilling in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

"We are a coastal state," said Lewes City Councilman Fred Beaufait. "And I think we have a responsibility to force our opinion on the government when they are going to do things that will have a negative impact." 

In January, the Department of Interior released a draft of its Continental Shelf Five-Year-Plan, which called for an increased amount of off-shore drilling in various regions, including the Mid-Atlantic. The plan was introduced as a part of President Barack Obama's "All-of-the-Above" energy strategy. 

"The safe and responsible development of our nation's domestic energy resources is a key part of the president's efforts to support American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," ," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. 

The testing would only be allowed 12 miles offshore, or more, according to Suzanne Thurman from The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute in Lewes. Thurman said she is opposed to the plan, because offshore drilling, and even seismic testing, can be harmful to wildlife. 

According to Thurman, seismic blasts measure at approximately 190 decibels, but are amplified to 245 in the water. She said that this is equivalent to the sound of an "jet's engine starting in the same room as you." 

"It's a very serious situation," she said. "And the impacts of seismic testing marine life can be as extreme as causing fatalities. Or causing permanent or temporary hearing loss."

Part of Delaware's congressional delegation, including Rep. John Carney, have voiced opposition to the plan, and have sent letters to the Department of Interior. 

The mayor and council of Ocean City, Md. voted on a similar measure in September, announcing their opposition to drilling. A full statement from the Department of Interior can be found here, as released in January. 

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