Date: January 16, 2017
From: Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC)
Subject: Business Organization Calls for More Opportunity for Public Input
Contact: Frank Knapp, President/CEO, 803-497-3204 (w), 803-600-6874 (c),
Business Organization Calls for More Opportunity for Public Input
Columbia, SC—The Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) has sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management requesting more opportunity for the public to be heard on the draft plan for offshore drilling for oil. BAPAC, with the recent addition of the Greater Ocean City (MD) Chamber of Commerce, now has over 42,000 business supporters and is the leading business voice opposing offshore drilling and testing in the Atlantic.
BAPAC asks that BOEM should make the process fairer to those stakeholders most directly impacted by extending the comment period deadline by several months to May 8, 2018, increasing the number of cities and giving the opportunity for formal, oral testimony.
Here is the full text of the BAPAC letter.
January 15, 2018
Dr. Walter Cruickshank
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Acting Director
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Dr. Cruickshank,
On behalf of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast with the support of over 42,000 business and 500,000 commercial fishing families, we respectfully make several requests to the public commentary process for the Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. Given recent alterations to the originally announced process, I believe that our requests are minor and will promote greater public input.
First, we request an extension of the March 8, 2018 deadline to submit comments on the DPP. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) provides for a 60-day comment period following the release of the DPP. Given the large scope of the DPP and the enormous public interest, we believe a 60-day extension of the deadline for comments is necessary to allow for more public hearings in the areas included in the DPP.
Second, we request that The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) add more coastal communities, large and small, in all areas included in the DPP, as well as non-coastal areas to allow for as many impacted voices as possible to raise their concerns. This would give the opportunity to the public that would be most directly impacted to provide input on the DPP. This is critical for this process to be considered fair given the new, large scope of the DPP and its potential impacts on coastal communities and economies, the marine environment, and climate.
Accordingly, BOEM should hold public hearings in the following Atlantic Coast municipalities to meet with stakeholders who will be most directly impacted by the proposed expanded drilling:
Delaware: Georgetown and Wilmington
Florida: Jacksonville, Key Largo, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale
Georgia: Savannah, Brunswick, Athens and Atlanta
New Hampshire: Concord
New Jersey: Monmouth and Long Branch
New York: East Hampton and Southampton
North Carolina: Wilmington, Morehead City, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Asheville
South Carolina: Georgetown, Charleston, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Beaufort, and Columbia
Virginia: Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, Hampton, and Cape Charles
Maryland: Ocean City and Annapolis
Rhode Island: Providence
Third, in addition to the “open house” format planned, we request formal oral testimony as a better way to ensure that people’s concerns are heard and recorded publicly.
In addition to the above reasonable requests, we ask that all Atlantic Coast states receive the exemption from being included in a new five-year plan just as the state of Florida has received. Clearly, every one of these states has an economy that is driven by tourism tied to their coasts. Each one of the states has its own unique coast that provides a vibrant tourism, commercial fishing and recreation economy that is incompatible with offshore drilling for oil with its inevitable leaks and spills.
Thank you for your consideration of our public input requests that we believe will make the process fairer to those stakeholders most directly impacted by extending the comment period deadline by several months to May 8, 2018, increasing the number of cities and giving the opportunity for formal, oral testimony.
Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO