OCEAN CITY — Ocean City got an unexpected ally in its opposition to a federal proposal to open a vast section of ocean off the mid-Atlantic coast for seismic testing and offshore drilling this week when the city of Baltimore passed its own formal measure opposing the measure.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is currently evaluating four permits from three different private sector companies to conduct seismic air gun blast testing off the mid-Atlantic coast for the purpose of identifying oil and natural gas deposits beneath the ocean’s floor. In March, BOEM hosted a public meeting in Annapolis to present a proposal to lease roughly three million acres off the mid-Atlantic coast for future oil and natural gas exploration and excavation. The plan is to eventually open the leased area along the outer continental shelf as close as 20 miles from the coast of Ocean City and Assateague for the eventual private sector extraction of oil and gas reserves under the sea floor.
In September, the town of Ocean City passed a resolution formally opposing the proposed seismic testing and eventually offshore drilling for oil and natural gas reserves off the mid-Atlantic coast, joining a growing list of municipalities, counties and other jurisdictions from Florida to New Jersey who have filed similar resolutions. On Monday, Ocean City got its first close-to-home ally in its formal opposition when the Baltimore City Council passed a similar resolution.