Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit the exploration, development and production of offshore oil and gas in New York waters. The law also prohibits any infrastructure to support drilling off New York’s coast, and prevents the state’s agencies from taking regulatory actions to facilitate oil and gas production in federal waters.
“The message is loud and clear—state legislators agree with our governor that New York won’t jeopardize our coastal economies and vibrant fisheries with the risk of a dirty oil spill,” said Brian Langloss, New York campaign organizer for Oceana. “We applaud Governor Cuomo and our legislature for taking a stand. We will stay vigilant in this fight to protect our coast until President Trump officially cancels his plan to radically expand offshore drilling.”
“No how, no way are you going to drill off the coast of Long Island,” Gov. Cuomo said when he took the podium.
The legislation, which clearly rebukes the Trump administration’s plans to radically expand offshore drilling to nearly all federal waters, was applauded by community members, business leaders and conservationists at a signing ceremony at the outdoor Northwell Health amphitheater at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh. Governor Cuomo was joined on stage by Billy Joel, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
“There has been near unanimous condemnation of the federal government’s proposal to open up our waters to drilling for oil and gas,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright (DSeatauket), who introduced the bipartisan and widely supported bill in the State Assembly in January of this year. “My legislation takes aggressive action to protect New York’s environment by prohibiting offshore drilling. This law will protect and defend our waters, keeping them safe for recreation, fishing and wildlife. At the same time, this action will protect the value of our homes and the natural resources which make Long Island a tourist destination. I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation into law.”
Late last week, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior David Bernhardt reported to The Wall Street Journal that the administration’s offshore drilling plan is “going to take a while.” Until the next draft of the plan is released to the public, 90% of U.S. federal waters remain under consideration for expanded drilling, and permits to conduct dangerous seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic could be issued any day.
The value of coastal resources and industries has been a major focus for communities who are fighting to protect their coast from offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting, which could threaten more than 414,000 jobs and roughly $39 billion in GDP supported by fishing, tourism and ocean-based recreation in New York alone.
The Trump administration’s plan for expanding offshore drilling ignores a groundswell of opposition. To date, seven states, over 350 municipalities, and over 2,100 local, state and federal elected officials – including every East and West Coast governor – oppose offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. Numerous fishing and tourism interests, including local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, all three East Coast fishery management councils, and an alliance representing over 42,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have all expressed concern with offshore drilling and exploration, citing threats to marine life, coastal communities and local economies.
Earlier this month, Oceana released a new report finding that offshore drilling remains dirty and dangerous nine years after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history. To read the report, visit oceana.org/DirtyDrilling.
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling activities, please click here.