Town hall held to educate public on seismic testing, oil drilling

OCEAN CITY, Md. –  An offshore drilling town hall was held on Wednesday, to educate the community about what’s happening, as well as how it might effect the local environment and businesses.

The Trump administration unveiled plans last year that could open the entire East Coast to seismic testing, along with offshore oil and gas drilling. This town hall featured officials from Oceana and the Assateague Coastal Trust.

As of now, Mayor Rick Meehan, the Town Council and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan are against seismic testing and drilling. Representative Andy Harris is also against it, but officials are hoping they can sway the congressman to expand that opinion to waters outside of Maryland.

“The impacts an oil spill or the exploration activities that come before drilling, even if they occurred in areas beyond Maryland’s coastal waters, they could have an impact on our coastal tourism and our coastal fisheries,” says Matt Heim, mid-atlantic organizer for Oceana. “So we would encourage the representative, while we applaud him being opposed to drilling off of our coast, we would encourage him to oppose drilling in a broader area in the Atlantic.”

Dozens of concerned citizens attended the town hall, and many tell 47 ABC they were at the meeting to learn more. Many say they can see the dangers that these proposals can cause to the environment, but say they have to weigh that against what oil drilling could mean economically.

“It’s definitely going to impact the beaches,” says Ocean View resident Michele Morgan. “I guess what I’m worried about is the animals, the mammals and the whales, and things like that, that are in the ocean and how it’s going to effect that.”

Officials say they are anticipating a public comment period on this, and so Oceana is holding town halls like these across Delmarva. You can see their full schedule of meetings at their Mid-Atlantic Facebook page.

Categories: Local News, Maryland