From the office of State Representative Dylan Fernandes
Calling it an environmentally and economically disastrous policy for the state, Rep. Dylan Fernandes joined activists and lawmakers at the Sheraton Hotel Boston on Tuesday to protest the Trump administration proposal to open up New England coastal zones to oil drilling. Protesters decried the proposed change as an affront to marine life, a threat to the local fishing and tourism industries, and a backwards initiative at a time when the government should be transitioning to renewable energy.
Rep. Fernandes was tapped by the Sierra Club to speak at the event because of his advocacy and legislation on environmental protection and ocean health. “Opening up our precious shores to oil and gas drilling would be nothing short of a catastrophe for Massachusetts, both for our environment and our blue economy.” said Fernandes at the event, highlighting the unique risk to the Cape and Islands should the proposal move forward. “If the Trump administration were actually interested in solving our country’s energy problems, they could start by investing in clean, renewable energy instead of dragging us backward.”
The impetus for the event was a public hearing on the federal proposal from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), taking place elsewhere in the hotel. Though advertised as an open hearing, BOEM opted not to accept verbal testimony from those gathered.
Ralliers from around the state donned costumes in recognition of marine life that could be threatened in the event of an oil spill. It’s fear that’s not unfounded to longtime residents of the region. Buzzards Bay alone has seen 15 minor and major spills in the last 60 years, the largest of which occurred in 1969 when 189,000 gallons oil from a grounded barge flowed into the bay. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute say that marine life has still yet to fully recover.
“Within a decade or two we need to drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere or face serious risk of some truly catastrophic outcomes” remarked Phil Duffy, President of the Woods Hole Research Center. He continued, saying “searching for new sources of fossil fuels is the last thing we should be doing.”