Statement of Emmie Theberge, Federal Project Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine
“We applaud the Maine Senate for unanimously passing a resolution today asking for Maine’s Atlantic Ocean waters to be excluded from President Trump’s proposal for offshore oil exploration and drilling. The House passed the measure unanimously on February 15. Where there’s drilling, there’s spilling. Drilling in Maine waters would put our communities, fishermen, and coastal residents at risk of significant new dangers from oil pollution.
“Maine has nothing to gain and everything to lose from this risky plan. Along with the State Legislature, Maine’s entire Congressional delegation opposes oil drilling in Maine waters. In January, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke saying ‘the potential harm posed by oil and gas exploration and development off Maine’s shores far outweighs any potential benefit.’
“Maine’s economy relies on our coast, tourism, lobstering, beaches, commercial fishing, aquaculture, and they all depend on clean and healthy waters. The economic importance of Florida’s coast was the exact reason why, shortly after announcing the plan, Zinke claimed he would remove Florida’s coastal waters from consideration for drilling. Maine waters deserve this protection, too.
“The Trump Administration’s plan to sell off our ocean waters to the oil industry poses a major, unacceptable risk to Maine’s coastal communities and marine life. Now is the time for Maine people to join our elected officials to speak up and oppose this short-sighted giveaway to the oil industry, at the expense of our economy and quality of life.”
“On Wednesday, March 7, from 3:00-7:00 p.m., the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will host a public meeting at the Augusta Civic Center on the proposed plan, but they are failing to give Mainers a chance to speak out and testify on this critical issue. However, Maine people will speak at an alternative venue that day: beginning with a 2:00 p.m. news conference in the Aroostook Room at the Augusta Civic Center, followed by an open session for Maine people to testify there until 7:00 p.m. The testimony will be recorded and submitted to the official public record.