University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

News Journal: Delaware tourism to benefit from drilling ban

The Obama administration announcement Tuesday that it will bar oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean was cheered by Delaware politicians and environmental activists. John Doerfler, chair of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation's Delaware chapter, said the administration's decision will benefit the state's economy  by keeping its tourism industry intact.

Drilling opponents say that the offshore rigs would deter fish and fishing in the area. A state study found tourism generated more than $3 billion in 2014. Although the study did not break down the the percentage of tourists who come to fish, it did note that tourism supports 17 percent of total employment in Sussex County.

"We are protecting tourist dollars and at the same time protecting the environment," Doerfler said.

Critics of President Barack Obama's decision, charge oil drilling would create jobs and those staffing oil rigs will spend money in the towns near where they are based. But Doerfler countered that the damage done to the state's economy would not offset the potential revenue generated by drilling.