CBF Welcomes Obama Decision to Halt Oil Drilling on East Coast

Press Release
December 2, 2010

CBF Welcomes Obama Decision to Halt Oil Drilling on East Coast

(ANNAPOLIS, MD) ��� The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds President Obama's decision not to pursue offshore drilling on the Eastern Seaboard.

"The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure, and drilling offshore poses unjustifiable risks to the Bay, its living resources, the tourism economy, and the many jobs dependent on clean water. Watermen dependent on blue crabs are especially at risk. A spill could devastate the crab industry," said Roy A. Hoagland, CBF Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration. "The President is right in saying 'no' to offshore drilling along the Eastern Seaboard."

The waters off the mouth of the Bay are indistinguishable both biologically and hydrologically from the Chesapeake. Ninety percent of the blue crab population utilizes those waters during the early life cycle stages. The crab larvae can float miles out into the ocean at the top centimeter of the water column (vulnerable to even the smallest oil spill) after they are spawned at the mouth of the Bay.

For four decades, CBF has taken an uncompromising stand against any addition or expansion of the oil industry on the Chesapeake Bay. While two huge battles against oil refineries in the 1970s were met with extreme criticism, supporters in both cases later agreed that oil refineries in their particular locations (Baltimore and Hampton Roads) would have been unwelcome, "like a snake at a picnic" as one proponent later editorialized.

In 1978, in response to the refinery proposal, CBF President Will Baker wrote in a New York Times op-ed opinion piece, "We are now about to gamble these renewable, aquatic resources for a single nonrenewable petroleum resource."

Last March, when President Obama called for the opening of oil and gas drilling leases off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, CBF immediately opposed the proposal.

CBF has urged the President to pursue renewable energy and conservation. "We can drive less, buy more fuel-efficient cars, and conserve energy at home and business. Conservation is one energy policy we can employ immediately to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and oil from environmentally risky off-shore drilling," added Hoagland.

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