Northeast fishing managers say offshore drilling for oil and gas off New England and the mid-Atlantic states is a bad idea because it could jeopardize marine life and industries.
The New England Fishery Management Council agreed Tuesday to send a letter to the federal Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management calling for the exclusion of East Coast waters from oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf region. The council reports to the federal government and its recommendation applies from Maine to North Carolina.
The council says energy exploration and extraction in the area is an inappropriate risk that “may harm living marine resources and the communities that depend on them.” The council managers waters where commercial fishermen seek valuable species such as cod, lobster and scallops.
The council action on the issue comes in response to a decision made last month by the administration of President Donald Trump to open the East and West coasts to drilling, as well as the Arctic Ocean.
A public meeting on the topic that Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management had scheduled to take place in Augusta on Jan. 22 was postponed due to a short-lived federal government shutdown last month. The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 7, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.at the Augusta Civic Center.