Commentary: Thank you Gov. Carney for signing offshore drilling ban bill
Delaware is known as the state of endless discoveries - bringing in more than 9 million visitors to our state each year. Restaurants are the largest component of Delaware’s thriving tourism industry - a huge contributor to our state’s economy, generating millions in revenue, and the tourism industry serves as the fourth-largest employer in the state.
Delawareans and our visitors rely upon and enjoy our abundant coastal resources. Over 60,000 jobs directly or indirectly support the fishing, tourism and recreation sectors, and coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion in economic production to the state. Preserving the coastal environment is essential to Delaware’s economic well-being, as well as vital to maintaining a high quality of life for its residents. The majority of coastal residents perceive offshore oil and gas exploration as a threat to their communities and livelihoods.
As a member of the executive leadership team of the Delaware Restaurant Association and the president of one of the largest private employers in Sussex County, I’ve devoted my career to providing opportunity to the people we work with, and making coastal Delaware a great place in which to to live and visit.
The restaurant industry employs more people in Delaware than any other industry in the state - one in 10 work in one of nearly 2,000 restaurants in the state. Restaurants are the backbone of the culinary coast and contribute billions of dollars to the economy in Sussex County.
We understand the importance of coastal tourism - every person who works in one of our restaurants or any of the multitude of restaurants as well as those employed in all of our local small businesses understands that their livelihood is dependent on how many people visit each summer. Preserving our coastal resources should always be a primary initiative in a state so dependent on attracting visitors, as well as maintaining the beaches and local waters we all love and enjoy.
We applaud Gov. John Carney for signing legislation in September prohibiting drilling for oil and natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters.
We join other coastal states in approaching U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Trump, opposing drilling for oil and gas in federal waters off the coast of our states, or elsewhere in the Atlantic. Gov. Carney states that “the State of Delaware stands firm in its commitment to alternative energy development, and has prioritized working with neighboring states to develop a comprehensive strategy that will maximize the environmental and economic development benefits of adopting renewable energy.
“As such, I am opposed to any oil and gas leasing in federal waters offshore of Delaware, or elsewhere in the Atlantic.”
We are grateful to our governor and state leaders, who came together to support this legislation demonstrating their commitment to preserving our coastal waters, our economy and our local communities.