Why Risk Sacrificing Something So Special?
Five years ago, Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) voiced its support for the relief efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. ACT pointed out how corporate greed, lax regulatory oversight and lack of enforcement led to the greatest environmental disaster in American history. We considered ourselves thankful to live in an area not heavily impacted by oil exploration but if we do not voice opposition soon, we may not be able to consider ourselves as fortunate.
The Obama Administration is proposing to allow offshore oil and natural gas leasing off the Mid-Atlantic coast. If this proposal reaches fruition, it would put the Delmarva coastline in the crosshairs of a future BP-style disaster, essentially destroying the Eastern Shore’s nearly $2 billion tourism economy, nearly $1 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry, and our priceless coastal ecosystem. Even a small spill could have devastating effects on a region so reliant on clean water and beaches.
The risk goes well beyond a hypothetical potential spill. Before any wells are drilled, energy companies will conduct seismic testing to map the ocean floor in search of oil and gas deposits from Delaware south to Cape Canaveral, Florida. This process entails firing a sonic burst into the ocean 10,000 times louder than a jet engine every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration of the mapping project, which can take up to several weeks.
This type of operation has real and devastating impacts on wildlife. In the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Environmental Impact Study for the proposed energy exploration, they estimated over 138,000 Atlantic coast marine mammals would be impacted by seismic testing — and many could die.
Seismic testing could have far reaching effects given the migratory nature of Atlantic fish species like tuna, mahi-mahi and marlins. Concerns over seismic testing led California and Canada to deny exploration off their coasts.
All of these risks beg the question: just how much oil and gas is available to justify putting our coastal ecosystem, wildlife, and economy in danger? The answer is not much. The BOEM estimates around 2.92 billion barrels of oil and 25.56 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas are located in the proposed leasing area. That is only enough oil to power the U.S. for about 6 months and enough natural gas to supply the U.S. for a little over a year. When you compare the estimated oil and gas reserves off the Atlantic coast to other regions of the country, it only represents about 4% of the total available reserves in the U.S., which is the smallest reserve of any region.
Given the small reward and potential risk, ACT stands firmly opposed to any and all oil and natural gas operations off the Mid-Atlantic coast and supports efforts to increase solar and offshore wind resources for energy. We strongly encourage our fellow citizens to join us in voicing opposition to the proposed oil and gas exploration.
Fifty years ago, a group of concerned citizens came together to preserve Assateague Island from the threat of development. It will take the combined efforts of even more citizens to stop the even larger threat of oil and gas rigs off our shores. Will you join us in protecting our coast? Visit ActForBays.org for more information.
(The writer is the executive director of Assateague Coastal Trust.)
Street Performers Impact Tram Drivers
In reference to the article about the street performers, I see no mention about how these performers obstruct the tram lane creating unsafe areas for pedestrians and tram personnel. Since the trams are on the Boardwalk at least 13 sometimes 14 hours a day, it would have been appropriate for someone from the transportation department to be a part of the task force.
Tram drivers and conductors are consistently on alert to keep riders and pedestrians safe. When we are confronted with situations where a crowd gathers for a performer, most times every other block, it is increasingly difficult to maneuver a tram through an unmoving throng.
The pedestrian observer pays no attention to the tram, at times refusing to move. On the wood where the tram lane is clearly designated, people will congregate around a performer blocking the tram completely.
At 4th street, when we make our turn onto the wood or cement, it is always congested if a street performer is there. Sometimes, no amount of blowing the horn will move people out of our way. As a conductor, I have had to stand and lean over to wave pedestrians over. Vacationers get annoyed that they have to move when we, as tram personnel, are looking out for their safety and the safety of our riders as well.
I want to emphasize that all tram personnel are always conscientious of our riders’ and pedestrians’ personal safety. We ensure that all visitors have a pleasant trip on the Boardwalk.
Having the street performers is a distraction, however, there are a couple of them who do try to keep their audience away from the tram and this effort is appreciated.
I would like to hear that performers, for a specific fee, be required to apply for the privilege of using the Boardwalk as a stage by acquiring an official permit from the city. Said permit should be prominently displayed on the performer. No permit, no performance.
Elizabeth Sacca Kuczinski
Presently the Nations of the world can’t seem to decide on a name for the evil that has presented itself under the pretense of a religious belief. Some nations call it for what they perceive it to be while other nations can’t decide or refuse to recognize it as a real threat.
While they debate and go undecided, this evil continues to grow and spread taking the lives of innocent people. When will the nations stand up to this evil, regardless of what it’s called? How many heads need to be cut off, people burned alive, children murdered, women raped before action to oppose this evil is taken?
All the nations of the world seem to be looking for a leader. Obviously, our present administration doesn’t have the will to take the necessary action to dispose of this evil before it’s too late.
What is it going to take for nations to do what’s necessary? Another attack like Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers? I’m afraid by waiting any attack will be much more devastating. Instead of thousands in one city it may be millions in many cities because of the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Before we allow this to happen, nations of the world need to come together and face this evil and eradicate it off the face of this earth. I don’t believe there is any other alternative.
These evil people have consciously made a judgment that opposes all recognized ethical principles and in so doing freed themselves of guilt for the actions they have taken. I hope and pray that the proper action will be taken for to do nothing would be a universal mistake.
Paul St. Andre
Ocean City Maryland