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Public Hearing Will Be Held on Federal Offshore Drilling Proposal

Oil and Gas Drilling in the Atlantic Would Threaten Long Island’s Communities, Beaches, Fisheries, and Economy

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed to open the Atlantic Region Outer Continental Shelf for the leasing, exploration and development of oil and gas.  The environmental community, public health advocates, business leaders, and the public have come out against offshore drilling in the Atlantic region, which would leave us vulnerable to oil spills and could cause lasting damage to our coastal ecosystem. Hundreds turned out to warn of the dangers of offshore drilling at a public hearing held by the NYS Assembly in Smithtown last month, and there has been a bi-partisan call from elected officials at all levels of government to exempt our region from this plan in order to protect our water resources and our economy.  With the momentum against offshore drilling building, federal decision makers have scheduled a public hearing so Long Islanders can go on the record about their concerns.

The US Department of the Interior will hold a public hearing on offshore drilling on Friday, March 2nd, from 12pm-2pm at Brookhaven Town Hall.

Oil and gas drilling has caused lasting damage to communities around the country and we cannot afford for Long Island to be next.  Catastrophic oil spills like the Exxon Valdez and Deep Water Horizon destroyed local fisheries, threatened human health, and left environmental damage that would take decades to recover from. Even without a large spill like Exxon Valdez or Deep Water Horizon, fossil fuel exploration during normal conditions can have a lasting impact. Seismic blasts used in oil exploration have been shown to disrupt marine life, from whales to zooplankton, and can kill or severely injure fish and shellfish, including those of commercial importance like squid, lobster, and scallops.

Long Island is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Extreme weather events, sea level rise, salt water intrusion, ocean acidification, and warming temperatures threaten our water resources and our way of life. In addition to the potential direct impacts from seismic blasts, leaks, and spills, offshore oil and gas drilling would thwart the significant investments made to mitigate climate change locally and improve water quality in our bays, lakes, estuaries, and ocean. After decades of work to restore our waterways and fisheries, there is no reason to undo critical ocean protections.

If you cannot make it to public hearing but would like to weigh in, you can still submit comments to BOEM until March 9th.