Denied microphone, foes of offshore drilling plan hold rallies

HAMILTON, N.J. (AP) — Opponents of President Donald Trump’s plan to open most of the nation’s coastline to oil and natural gas drilling have held boisterous rallies before public meetings held by the federal government on the topic.

That’s because the public cannot speak to the assembled attendees at the meetings. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is meeting one-on-one with interested parties and allows people to comment online.

Because drilling opponents can’t address the room, they’ve been holding their own meetings. The latest will take place on Wednesday in Hamilton, New Jersey.

Cindy Zipf (ZIFF) of New Jersey’s Clean Ocean Action says she understands it’s uncomfortable to have to defend a bad idea, but adds, “That’s democracy.”

The bureau says its chosen format is more effective than formal oral testimony.