Letter

printed 01/11/2019

This letter was sent to Rep. Andy Harris and forwarded to Ocean City Today.

Dear Rep. Harris,

On behalf of the over 1,000 members of the Coastal Association of Realtors, I implore you to take a strong stance in opposition to the practice of seismic airgun testing off Maryland’s coast.

This testing is extremely dangerous and we are concerned about how it will impact our industry, as well as the Eastern Shore’s economy as a whole.

If the tourism and fishing industries are negatively impacted by seismic airgun testing, the real estate industry will suffer.

We rely on the success of local businesses, as well as the area’s appeal to tourists, high quality of life for residents, and the health of our natural assets. Seismic airgun testing and subsequent offshore drilling will irrevocably damage our coastline, our way of life, and our livelihood.

In 2017, our members sold over $984 million in real estate in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties. 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.

We are aware that you are, in fact, opposed to seismic airgun testing. However, we are also aware that you declined to sign a bi-partisan letter to take a stance against President Trump’s recent approval of seismic surveys for Atlantic drilling.

According to a recent communication we received from the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, you told Oceana that you did not feel comfortable signing a letter that broadly condemns oil and gas exploration in the entirety of the Atlantic.

Additionally, according to a recent article in Ocean City Today, you do not feel comfortable speaking for other states on this issue.

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.

Maryland needs you to join forces with all the other states from Delaware to Florida and tell the administration that we will not stand for seismic airgun testing and offshore drilling. Please do the right thing for the people who depend on you to represent them in Washington.

Bernie Flax

President

Coastal Association of Realtors

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