April 28, 2017
Statement by Frank Knapp Jr. President, CEO and co-founder of the Business Alliance for Protecting of the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) on President Trump’s Executive Order to revise or restart the 5-Year Plan for offshore drilling and streamlining the approval of seismic testing permits. With the support of over 41,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families BAPAC is the premier business organization opposing Atlantic Coast offshore exploration and drilling for oil. For more information on the issue, read Mr. Knapp’s opinion editorial in the Morning Consult.
With the addition of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce this week, BAPAC represents over 41,000 businesses and over 500,000 commercial fishing families opposing offshore exploration and drilling for oil in the Atlantic. We are building a green wall—business by business—to protect our vibrant tourism, recreation and commercial fishing economy that would be seriously threatened by the marine-life devastation of seimic airgun blasting and the inevitable destructive leaks, spills and industrialization that comes with drilling.
If Secretary Zinke allows BOEM to do its job prescribed under Section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and factually weigh the nation’s real energy needs versus our immensely successful Atlantic Coast economy dependent on our healthy ocean, growing objections from coastal states and the loud opposition of citizen stakeholders; we are confident that the Atlantic Ocean will be kept free of offshore drilling.
However, if this professional process is subverted by a political, Big Oil agenda masquerading as a policy “for the benefit of the American people”, then the entire East Coast economy is in terrible danger. Promises that “proper regulations will ensure that drilling and exploration is safe and environmentally responsible” defy the reality of an Administration calling for dramatic reductions in current environmental regulations that are not stopping on average nine oil leaks and spills each week in the Gulf.
Allowing offshore drilling is a forever decision that will forever change our way of life for the worse. We are not the Gulf Coast nor are we envious of the industrialization of the Gulf Coast. Their economy is oil. Ours is tourism, recreation and commercial fishing. The two economies are incompatible.
As for making the permitting process for seismic testing easier and faster, BAPAC will oppose this strenuously. As the public learns about the tremendous harm seismic airgun blasting does to whales, dolphins, fish and other marine life, it will be appalled at the possible use of this old technology that will hurt commercial and recreational fishing as well as tourism. Considering that the only purpose of seismic testing is to drill the unwanted oil wells, the public will demand that this administration never permit the process in the Atlantic.
Today we are delivering our clear message to Interior Secretary Zinke—no offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.
Secretary Ryan Zinke U.S. Department of the Interior 1849 C St NW Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Zinke:
The Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) represents over 41,000 businesses and 500,200 commercial fishing families from Maine to Florida. We are writing to call on you to retain the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (5-Year Plan) in its current form and deny any requests for permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for subsea oil and gas deposits, in the Atlantic Ocean.
BAPAC recognizes that offshore oil and gas activities are fundamentally at odds with our coastal economies and our way of life. Our thriving East Coast businesses are inextricably tied to clean coastal waters that create jobs, and enable us and our employees to support our families and put our children through school. Oil and gas exploration and development activities threaten the vibrant coastal environment that supports nearly 1.4 million jobs and contributes $95 billion to the annual gross domestic product, mainly through tourism, fishing and recreation. If plans to allow Atlantic drilling move forward, our communities could face chronic oil and chemical leaks, as well as the potential for major spills like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, on top of the industrialization of shorefronts by infrastructure needed for oil and gas development.
More than 120 local governments have passed formal resolutions opposing oil and gas exploration and/or drilling in the Atlantic or Eastern Gulf. Constituencies expressing opposition or deep concern include numerous local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, the Florida Defense Support Task Force, commercial and recreational fishing associations, and the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.
We implore you to prioritize our businesses and communities by not altering the current Five-Year Plan, and oppose any attempt to open the Atlantic Ocean to seismic airgun blasting to search for subsea oil and gas deposits. Such offshore activities are a direct threat to our local economies, our bountiful ocean environment, and the very fabric of our coastal communities.
Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO