(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Pushing back on the Trump plan for risky oil and gas drilling off the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s coastline, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, with Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, John K. Delaney, Anthony G. Brown and Jamie Raskin (all D-Md.), have sent formal comments to the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in strong opposition to the plan that would open up coasts nationwide to oil and gas exploration.

On January 4, 2018, the Interior Department announced a Draft Proposed Program for Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing for 2019-2024, which would replace the Obama Administration’s current leasing plan for 2017-2027 that left the Mid-Atlantic Coastline free from such new activity. The Trump plan looks to open all areas of the country’s coast to offshore drilling.

“Maryland’s inclusion in the draft proposal is heavily opposed in our state, as it threatens the livelihood of countless businesses and communities with significant interests in our fisheries and tourism industries,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Should oil and gas development be permitted in these waters, a potential oil spill could do untold harm to our fisheries, tourism industry, and environment … We believe that when you have had a chance to consider the consequences of this proposal on our military, the State’s economy, and the environment, you will reach a similar conclusion.”

The lawmakers urge other Marylanders to submit their comments before March 9 deadline. Interior Secretary Zinke specifically said that he would take “into consideration the local and state voice” when finalizing plans for off-shore drilling.

The full letter can be found here. Comments to BOEM can be submitted at this link through March 9, 2018.