(Jan. 11, 2019) As more lawmakers on the East Coast show disapproval for seismic testing offshore, so do more than 1,000 realtors on the Eastern Shore.

A letter sent to U.S. Rep. Andy Harris by the Coastal Association of Realtors called on the congressman to take a stronger stance against seismic testing.  

The Coastal Association of Realtors, headquartered in Berlin, serve Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The association strongly disagrees with the offshore testing, which could impact not only the environment, but also property values.

“In 2017, our members sold over $984 million in real estate in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties,” Association President Bernie Flax said in the letter. “Of that amount, over $450 million was sold in Ocean City, which would suffer the hardest economic blow as a result of fish kills and oil spills. The lower Eastern Shore cannot afford to lose that economic activity.”

Harris said he remains opposed to seismic testing. However, earlier this month he refused to sign a bipartisan letter opposing the activity, stating he would not speak out for other states.

Flax strongly disapproved of this approach in her letter to the congressman. 

“Your constituents in District 1 don’t need you to speak for other states on this issue. They need you to speak for one state – Maryland – whose interests you are sworn to protect,” Flax said.

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh leads a coalition of nine attorney generals in suing the National Marine Fisheries Service in order to prevent seismic testing off the Atlantic.

Oceana, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, North Carolina Coastal Federation, One Hundred Miles, Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation have also filed a suit against U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the National Marine Fisheries Service and Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver.

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