Simultaneous Presentations and Protests on Offshore Drilling in - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Simultaneous Presentations and Protests on Offshore Drilling in Delaware

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 5:19 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del.- As the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held a public meeting on proposed offshore drilling, environmentalists from across Delaware held a press conference next door.

"It would be devastating if there were an oil spill," says MERR Institute Executive Director Suzanne Thurman. "But just the simple day to day operations cause droplets of oil to go into the water."

Thurman and others say the Trump Administration's offshore drilling plan would hurt both marine wildlife and the local economy.

"We are very concerned about what this means or potentially could mean to folks and our whole life as a tourism destination," says Lewes Mayor Ted Becker.

The proposed drilling would take place three miles offshore. Thursday's public meeting was held in part to collect information for an environmental impact statement, said organizers.

"There's a lot of concern and I'm not seeking to quell. I'm frankly seeking to listen," says BOEM Chief Environmental Officer Bill Brown. "To make sure that on issues where people are concerned, that we can come back with a good answer."

Supporters of proposed drilling say it would bring more jobs, and energy independence to the United States. 

During Thursday's presentation, twenty BOEM employees, primarily scientists, were on hand in the open-house format to explain and answer questions people had. Brown says it's necessary that the government ensure any oil and gas development is safe for the environment. He says public comments will help the Department of the Interior decide how to move forward. Brown says public comment will be accepted until March 9th. Opponents of the plan say they'll make sure to get their comments in.

"I just want to impress on people that one voice does make a difference," Thurman tells WBOC. "Take the time to send in these comments."

Delaware Governor John Carney has voiced his opposition to the proposed drilling plan. Thursday's meeting came just two days after the same presentation--and many protesters--took place in Annapolis. 

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