Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today submitted formal comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program which would open up the North Atlantic Regional Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration and drilling.
In comments to be hand-delivered to BOEM at the Bureau's public meeting in Providence this afternoon, Attorney General Kilmartin writes, "Rhode Island's irreplaceable natural resources would be put in jeopardy at every step of this unnecessary and unwise process, from disruptive testing and drilling needed to locate deposits, to the toll taken during extraction, transfer and transport of fuels, and the possible spills and blowouts that history shows occur during drilling activity. The consequences of offshore drilling along the Rhode Island coast are simply too great of a risk."
In addition to identifying the potential impact drilling would have on the state's natural resources and economy, Attorney General Kilmartin requests BOEM grant Rhode Island the same consideration of a waiver the Bureau granted Florida, stating "The interests, natural resources, and economic concerns of Rhode Island are as precious and as vulnerable as those of Florida."
Attorney General Kilmartin concludes by writing, "The impact from oil and gas exploration and drilling activity in the North Atlantic Region would significantly erode the health of Rhode Island's coastline and Narragansett Bay, wreaking havoc on our coastal communities. The costs of this proposal are simply too great, and far outweigh any potential benefits."