APCC Urges Strong Response from Gov. Baker to Offshore Drilling Plan

Current plan would release 90% of US continental shelf for drilling...

From the Association to Preserve Cape Cod...

In continuing to respond to the Trump administration’s recently released draft five-year offshore drilling plan, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker this week requesting he take a more forceful stand against the proposal to open the eastern U.S. coast to offshore drilling, including the waters off Massachusetts.

 

In the letter, APCC asked the governor to state his formal opposition to the plan to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and to seek a reversal of the proposal to allow drilling in federal waters off the Massachusetts coast. The plan, released on January 4 by Zinke, would open 90 percent of the U.S. continental shelf, including the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, to development by private oil companies.

 

Upon the announcement of the offshore drilling plan, APCC was quick to state its strong opposition to the proposal, expressing concerns that impacts from an oil spill would be disastrous to Cape Cod communities, its economy and its fragile marine environment.

 

The governor sent a letter to Zinke this past June, months prior to the release of the plan, stating that Massachusetts does not support drilling in waters of the North Atlantic. However, APCC’s letter called on Baker to join the growing list of governors of coastal states in conveying a formal statement of opposition to the now-released plan.

 

Last week, the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation delivered a similar request to the governor.

 

Below is a transcript of the letter from APCC to Gov. Baker:

 

January 18, 2018

 

Governor Charlie Baker

Massachusetts State House

Office of the Governor, Room 280

Boston, MA 02133

 

RE: Department of the Interior Draft Proposed Five-Year Offshore Drilling Plan

 

Dear Governor Baker:

 

The Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) writes to request that you formally state your opposition to the Department of the Interior’s recently released draft proposed five-year offshore drilling plan to open up the Atlantic coastline to drilling, particularly the waters off the Massachusetts coast.

 

Established in 1968, APCC is Cape Cod’s leading nonprofit environmental advocacy and education organization, working for the adoption of laws, policies and programs that protect and enhance Cape Cod’s natural resources and quality of life.

 

As you know, Cape Cod’s economy, the character of its communities and its fragile environment are inextricably linked to the health and quality of our coastal waters. Opening the Atlantic coast to drilling and to the potential for a disastrous spill is a reckless threat to our region. The BP oil spill, one of America’s worst environmental disasters, was a costly lesson that we should not forget. It released over 170 million gallons of oil and unleashed an unprecedented environmental and economic nightmare that continues to reverberate throughout the Gulf states. Cape Cod communities—and the rest of Massachusetts—cannot afford the risk of a similar human and environmental tragedy along our coastline.

 

We greatly appreciate your 2017 letter to Secretary Zinke stating that the Commonwealth opposes opening areas off the Massachusetts coast to drilling, and we thank you for taking that position.

 

However, APCC believes that the release of the Department of the Interior’s draft proposed five-year plan for offshore drilling now compels a formal response from states such as Massachusetts that are opposed to the plan to drill in Atlantic waters. We therefore ask that you submit such a response to Secretary Zinke, and that you do all that you can to prevent offshore drilling from taking place in Massachusetts waters, including seeking withdrawal of Massachusetts from the plan.

 

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

Andrew Gottlieb

Executive Director


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