The United States Department of the Interior is proposing to open nearly all of the coastal waters of the United States to offshore oil and gas drilling through the President Trump’s so-called “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.” This proposal poses a dangerous threat to public health, the environment, and our economic wellbeing.
Our oceans are continually stressed by discharges from sewage, storm water, runoff from our communities and agricultural pollution, and petroleum and other chemical spills. The burning of fossil fuels adds an assault from the air with deposits of nitrogen, acid gases and mercury, and the amount of trash and plastic that enters our oceanic environments is a problem of alarming proportions. Adding the risks from drilling operations to our oceans is unexpectable.
Offshore drilling operations are inherently dangerous. The process produces harmful wastes including toxic metals, such as lead and mercury, as well as carcinogens like benzene. Accidents that result in oil spills can have long lasting and devastating impacts on wildlife, health, and local economies reliant on tourism and fishing.
By denying access to state marine and coastal district lands, this legislation will prevent the oil and gas industry from establishing extraction sites proximate to New York’s shoreline, thereby preserving opportunities to pursue a clean energy future through the sensible and responsible development of off-shore wind. Since it is the policy of New York State to move our economy entirely off of fossil fuels by 2050 (State Energy Plan), we encourage the sponsor to consider amending the bill and expand the drilling prohibition to all state-owned lands.
This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law and the Transportation Corporations Law in relation to prohibiting state authorizations related to certain offshore oil and natural gas production.