Contact: Frank Knapp, 803.497-3204 (o), 803.600.6874 (c), email@example.com
WASHINGTON – Today, representatives from the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) will meet with members of Congress and their staff to ask that the Atlantic Ocean remain off-limits to offshore oil and gas drilling as well as seismic airgun blasting, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for subsea oil and gas deposits. The Atlantic coast supports nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product that rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation. BAPAC opposes offshore drilling along the entire Atlantic coast because it could threaten the economic vitality of coastal states. In addition to meeting with East Coast representatives and senators, BAPAC members, representing more than 35,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families, will meet with officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior to stress the threats of offshore drilling activities to local jobs and economies. BAPAC previously traveled to the nation’s capital last November to encourage the Administration to deny all pending permits for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Our clean beaches and oceans keep us economically competitive to similar tourist destinations across the United States,” said Vicki Clark, BAPAC Chair and President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. “The federal government should be protecting and enhancing our competitive advantage, not opening our families and proven businesses up to the risks of offshore drilling impacts.
“Our coastal economies help drive our state’s GDP, feed families and spur further economic development for the region,” said Frank Knapp, BAPAC President, and President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “We expect our federal elected officials to support their local businesses, not the oil and gas industry.”
BAPAC representatives in attendance include:
- Frank Knapp – President/CEO, BAPAC; President and CEO, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (Columbia, SC); 803-600-6874 (cell)
- Laura Wood-Habr – Vice President, Virginia Beach Restaurant Association; Co-owner, Crocs 19th St. Bistro (Virginia Beach, VA); 757-288-3861 (cell)
- BJ Baumann – Vice Chair, Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission; President, Rockafeller’s Restaurant (Virginia Beach, VA); 757-335-1233 (cell)
- Pat Broom – Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board; President, Phoenix Restoration (Outer Banks, NC); 252-619-3555 (cell)
- Rick Baumann – Founder, Murrells Inlet Seafood (Murrells Inlet, SC); 843-457-8126 (cell)
- Phil Odom – Commercial Waterman (Hinesville, GA); 912-658-9053 (cell)
- Bill Hamilton – Co-owner, Southern Horticulture (St. Augustine, FL); 904-808-0254 (cell)
- Mike Gibaldi – Rickenbacker Marina Inc. (Miami Beach, FL); 305-389-4615
- Tim Rider – North Atlantic Marine Alliance, Commercial Fisherman (Gloucester, ME); 603-953-5515
According to BAPAC, offshore drilling activities in the Atlantic Ocean could threaten coastal economies along the eastern seaboard. Communities could face chronic oil and chemical leaks and the potential for major spills like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, as well as the industrialization of shorefronts by the infrastructure needed to transport oil and gas to refineries. East Coast communities rely on healthy oceans and clean beaches to support jobs and economies, which allow them to feed their families and put their children through school. Offshore oil and gas operations are a direct threat to coastal communities and their way of life.
As of today, more than 120 East Coast municipalities have formally opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting, as have more than 1,100 elected officials, the Mid- and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, nearly 100 leading marine scientists, and thousands of American consumers.
BAPAC was created in September 2016 by individual businesses and business organizations dedicated to protecting the long-term health and economic vitality of the Atlantic seaboard through the responsible stewardship of coastal and ocean waterways.