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Bay is threatened by gas and oil exploration

The health of the Chesapeake Bay is declining for the first time in a decade. This news is especially dire as the bay faces a new threat: the Trump administration’s offshore oil drilling plan (“Maryland leading challenge to Trump administration’s decision allowing seismic testing off Atlantic coast,” Dec. 20). We’re awaiting the next draft of the plan and it’s quite likely it will open the southeast Atlantic to offshore drilling for the the first time in decades.

Maryland is included in the current oil and gas leasing plan and oil and gas exploration firms have applied to conduct seismic blasting off our coast. This indicates that industry is interested in mid-Atlantic drilling. If years of work and millions of dollars of restoration can be reversed by increased rainfall and urban runoff, imagine the havoc offshore oil drilling could wreak on Chesapeake Bay’s delicate recovery. Any spill, but in particular a major oil spill such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon, would devastate the recovering populations of oysters and crabs and expand the large dead zone.

The Chesapeake Bay’s inland location would not protect it from oil pollution as its waters are tied to the Atlantic which accounts for more inflow to the bay than all of its rivers combined. The risks of offshore drilling are too great. While our elected officials like Attorney General Brian Frosh and Gov. Larry. Hogan, who spearheaded an opposition letter penned by coastal governors, have taken a stand against drilling, all of us need to keep fighting against offshore drilling.

Ginny Miller, Cambridge, Mass.

The writer is an intern with Environment Maryland.

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