Letter to the Editor
Published in The East Hampton Star, April 27, 2017
On Sunday, Guild Hall hosted a program concerned with the preservation of the waters surrounding the East End. Flanked by scientists supporting their efforts, Deputy Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and County Legislator Bridget Fleming spoke of their accomplishments in and plans for protecting our marine environment. These efforts have been effective and, at this very moment, the work of our dedicated government could not be more important.
This week, after weeks of publicity, Mr. Trump will sign an executive order designed to rescind regulations adopted by the Obama administration banning offshore oil and gas drilling in dozens of canyons off the East Coast in an area extending from New England to Virginia. Mr. Trump’s order does the bidding of the fossil fuel interests by potentially making these areas open to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. The devastating spill in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by the negligence of the oil industry, offers a stark picture of the potential catastrophe posed by drilling off our coast.
Where are our congressmen? In the pockets of the fossil fuel interests. In February, both Lee Zeldin (our Congressman) and Peter King (from neighboring Nassau County) voted to allow coal mining companies to dump toxic coal residue in neighboring waterways. This is despite Mr. Zeldin’s empty boast to “work tirelessly … to protect our national treasures.” And, despite a promise to “protect Long Island’s waterways,” Mr. Zeldin has sat stone-faced in the face of Trump’s highly publicized intentions. And, this is despite his crowing about the need to protect the fishing industry. Yet to stand up to Mr. Trump, we should all expect Mr. Zeldin to cave to the fossil fuel industry (read donation dollars) and put our shoreline, and fishing industry, in peril.
The new GOP team that would like to govern our town also has failed to voice any opposition to Mr. Trump’s proposal, despite cloaking themselves in the garb of environmentalists. So, one can only assume by their silence they, too, are sycophants to the dictates of oil and gas interests. By their silence, we should also assume that their professed interest in environmental issues and the fishing industry is nothing more than political posturing.
I can think of no greater threat to our tourism and fishing industries, not to mention real estate values, than the sight of oil rigs on the horizon from our beaches or the devastation to the fishing grounds from an oil spill of any size.
Thankfully, there already is a group protecting our beautiful communities – It is the current Town Board (and Ms. Fleming). Trust what they have done as opposed to what the wannabes say. Actions do speak louder than words – or silence.