Rehoboth Commissioners Put Discussion of Seismic Testing on Agen - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Commissioners Put Discussion of Seismic Testing on Agenda

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Members of the Rehoboth Beach Commission are voicing concerns over plans to allow seismic testing, and possible offshore drilling as close as 12 miles from the Delaware coasts. Commissioners are expected to discuss the seismic testing at their Monday meeting, just over a month after Lewes became the first Delaware community to voice their opposition

Already approximately 90 coastal communities, across the eastern coast, have cast a vote, indicating their opposition to seismic testing and offshore drilling. That includes Ocean City and Lewes. The discussion was put on the agenda by Commissioners Kathy McGuiness and Lorraine Zellers. 

The nationwide debate all began in January, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division within the Department of the Interior, released a draft of it's Continental Shelf, five-year-plan. That draft called for increased off-shore drilling in various regions, including the mid-atlantic. Currently the bureau is accepting public comment, and will have an updated draft by March, 2016.

A final decision is expected to be made by the executive branch by late-2016, according to Matt Heim, from the Assateague Coastal Trust. 

Rehoboth Beach business owner and resident Meg Hudson said she is concerned by the prospect of offshore drilling coming to Delaware. 

"I'm concerned as a business owner and a resident of Rehoboth," she said. "I chose to live here because of the beautiful coastline... I would hate to see that be jeopardized." 

Others such as Dennis Finnerty, who lives just outside of Rehoboth, say offshore drilling will help create energy independence. 

"It would certainly help," he said. "And it would certainly help break our energy dependence we have on areas like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Most oil producing areas are as you - well know - politically unstable. So I think it would be a good idea." 

Not all commissioners said they were on board with the vote. Mayor Sam Cooper said that the decision should be left to the scientific experts. 

"There's no way we could understand enough to render a good decision," he said.

A full statement from the Department of Interior can be found here, as released in January. 

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