Rep. Lee Zeldin was joined by state and local officials, environmentalists and business leaders at the L.I. Aquarium Jan. 26 to call on the federal government to withdraw its plan to allow drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Long Island. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) will host a meeting Friday on the Trump Administration’s proposal to open 90 percent of the U.S. coastal waters to gas and oil exploration and drilling drilling.

Officials from the U.S. Interior Department, which has proposed the plan, will attend the meeting and record public comments, Zeldin’s office said in a press release.

The meeting will take place at Brookhaven Town Hall on Friday, March 2 from noon to 2 p.m.

Zeldin has called on the Interior Department to hold a public hearing on Long Island. The agency held a hearing in Albany Feb. 15. Its decision to hold the hearing so far from the coastal region the drilling plan affects has been roundly criticized by elected officials and environmental and civic groups across Long Island.

Zeldin said he had two conversations with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke this month to urge him to schedule a Long Island hearing prior to the end of the public comment period on March 9.

The offshore drilling proposal, implementing an executive order signed by the president last year, has drawn harsh criticism from coastal state governors, including N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo. State, county and town officials have blasted the idea, citing potential devastating consequences to the marine environment and adverse impacts on marine-based businesses, including commercial and recreational fishing businesses and regional tourism.

A panel of State Assembly members, headed by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, convened a public hearing in Hauppauge on Feb. 14 and heard testimony from interested persons in a day-long session. Englebright said the testimony would be delivered to federal regulators for inclusion in the public rulemaking record.

Any member of the public interested in attending Friday’s meeting should RSVP.

Comments can also be submitted online through March 9.

Brookhaven Town Hall is located at 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville. Directions.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.