Hucker Pursues Resolution to Oppose Oil and Gas Development off of East Coast

Hucker Pursues Resolution to Oppose Oil and Gas Development off of East Coast

Resolution follows a proposal by President Obama to allow offshore drilling from Virginia to Georgia

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Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker

Official photo

Montgomery County may not be close to the Atlantic Ocean, but many residents vacation and own homes along its coastline, so the county needs to support efforts to protect its waters from pollution, according to County Council member Tom Hucker.

That was the argument Hucker made when he introduced a council resolution Tuesday to oppose offshore gas and oil drilling off the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Hucker’s resolution, which was co-sponsored by five other council members, comes after President Barack Obama outlined a proposal in January 2015 to allow offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean off the coastline stretching from Virginia to Georgia.

He said the proposal to start drilling could damage the Atlantic coastline and make the Chesapeake Bay susceptible to oil spills. Other jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City and Ocean City, have already passed similar resolutions opposing the drilling, Hucker said.

“We know hundreds of thousands of our constituents visit the Atlantic coast beaches, whether they’re in New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland each year,” Hucker said. “And thousands of our residents own houses and some own small businesses on the Eastern Shore. Pristine beaches and a healthy marine environment are the backbone of Maryland’s coastal economy and they generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state.”

The federal government plans to sell oil and gas development leases in the federal waters from 2017 to 2022, according to The New York Times. The Times report noted that while environmental advocates strongly oppose the proposal, lawmakers from both parties in the coastal states that will be affected have long called for the waters to be open for drilling. 

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