Nine members of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast met with 22 Congressional offices on March 30th and 31st. Our Hill Day volunteers came from Maine to Florida and represented the hospitality, fishing, investment and general business community (see below for a list of BAPAC participants).
The elected leaders and their staffs heard the compelling stories of business owners passionate about protecting our coast from offshore oil exploration and testing.
The group also had a one-hour meeting with officials at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that oversees the offshore energy permitting and planning process for drilling and seismic testing.
It was clear from our meetings that our drilling/testing opposition message was being heard loud and clear even by members of Congress that have been supportive of Big Oil. The arguments that offshore drilling is essential for energy independence or economic development are ringing hollow even for the supporters of drilling.
The personal testimonials of our BAPAC representatives resonated with all who heard. Drilling and seismic testing are simply not compatible with our vibrant tourism, recreation and commercial fishing coastal economies.
However, our meetings were not just one way conversations. From every office we visited we gathered information that adds to our understanding of the battles to come, possibly sooner than later.
We now know that the seismic testing permits denied in January have been appealed. We will be watching this process carefully to be prepared to re-engage to support BOEM’s decision to reject those permits.
We now anticipate that last year’s 5-year plan for ocean energy management will probably be re-started with the new Administration. A precedent for this has been established by George W. Bush and Obama Administrations.
The crucial importance of the business voice being heard in Washington on offshore oil exploration and drilling was acknowledged over and over by those we met.
BAPAC will provide that business voice.
Get involved. Join us on our website (www.protectingtheatlanticcoast.org).
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Send us your stories of why you want to protect the Atlantic Coast (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks for your support.
BAPAC representatives participating in Hill Day:
• Frank Knapp – President/CEO, BAPAC; President and CEO, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (Columbia, SC)
• Pat Broom – BAPAC Board; Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board; President, Phoenix Restoration (Outer Banks, NC)
• Laura Wood-Habr – BAPAC Board; Vice President, Virginia Beach Restaurant Association; Co-owner, Crocs 19th St. Bistro (Virginia Beach, VA)
• BJ Baumann – Vice Chair, Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission; President, Rockafeller’s Restaurant (Virginia Beach, VA)
• Rick Baumann – Founder, Murrells Inlet Seafood (Murrells Inlet, SC)
• Phil Odom – Commercial Waterman (Hinesville, GA)
• Bill Hamilton – Co-owner, Southern Horticulture (St. Augustine, FL)
• Mike Gibaldi – Rickenbacker Marina Inc. (Miami Beach, FL)
• Tim Rider – North Atlantic Marine Alliance, Commercial Fisherman (Gloucester, ME)