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Local politicians react to Gulf oil spill, drilling at home

Local politicians react to Gulf oil spill, drilling at home

The massive and continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from a deepwater exploration well a week ago is fueling opposition from Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin to President Obama's proposal to explore for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic Coast.

(Here's the latest story on that spill.)

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Cardin and fellow Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski voiced opposition to drilling off the East Coast when Obama made the announcement last month, and Cardin took to the Senate floor yesterday with pictures of the Gulf scene to say the risk did not seem worth it.

"Deepwater Horizon is considered to be the most technologically advanced offshore oil rig in the world," Cardin said of the Gulf rig. "Six hundred million dollars was spent to construct this so that it would be safe. My point is, it exploded and cost people their lives, and it's created an environmental disaster."

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A spokeswoman for the Maryland delegation's lone Republican, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, said the congressman continues to give the drilling qualified support. But Lisa Wright said that the support was contingent revenue sharing with the states. That money would be used to minimize potential impacts to the environment from accidents such as the one off the coast of Louisiana, she said.

Heather Molino, a spokeswoman for Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger said, "The congressman is still analyzing Obama's off shore drilling proposal and still believes we need energy independence. But accidents like the one in the Gulf remind us how important it is that we take into account the potential environmental impact of any potential drilling off the coast."

A spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley said the governor was also concerned about the explosion and said that further review of the risks and potential benefits is needed before the federal government proceeds. Rick Abruzzese, the spokesman said the governor will be sending a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday to further express his views.

What's your view on drilling off the East Coast in light of the accident in the Gulf?

NASA Earth Observatory Image of oil spill from AFP/Getty Images

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