Kayakers rally for clean water
OCEAN CITY, Md. – Leaders from across the state gathered in Ocean City on Friday, and kayakers took that as an opportunity to make their voices heard and rally against offshore drilling.
It was all part of Assateague Coastal Trust’s (ACT) Float for the Coast event, but Friday was about much more than just sailing on the water.
“My philosophy always is, to get people to care about the environment, they have to immerse themselves in the environment and be in it to develop that appreciation for it,” Billy Weiland, Communications Manager for ACT, said.
So that’s what ACT and Oceana did on Friday: got people out on their kayaks and into the bay. But it wasn’t just for fun.
“Oceana is here to let people know about the threat of offshore drilling,” Jacob Ross, Field Campaigns Fellow for Oceana, said.
And that’s a threat that Oceana and ACT say threatens the entire Eastern Shore.
“The Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic attract millions of visitors, and billions of dollars in GDP to this region every year,” Ross said. “Offshore drilling puts all of that at risk.”
“Fishing industry is huge here, so ensuring that that water quality stays intact is vital,” Weiland said.
And having clean water is a cause that local kayakers say is important to them, and that they’re happy to be a part of.
“As people, it’s important to the wildlife, and healthy wildlife, plants, people, help everybody live longer, happier, disease-free, things like that,” one kayaker, Kathy Ferrusi, said.
So as officials from across Maryland gathered in Ocean City on Friday for the Maryland Association of Counties, the kayakers and activists took their opportunity to tell their message loud and clear.
“Let’s protect the local businesses, and recreational and commercial fisheries here, and not have offshore drilling,” Ross said.
And, of course, anybody concerned about the risks of offshore drilling can always contact their local representative.