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 is poses a dangerous threat to public health, the environment, and our economic wellbeing.
Our oceans are hurting and are stressed by the near constant discharge from old septic systems and old sewage infrastructure, storm water runoff from our communities and agricultural pollution. The burning of fossil fuels adds an assault from the air of nitrogen, acid gases and mercury. The unnecessary use and careless disposal of plastics is a nightmarish sized problem that this and future generations will have to grapple with. The addition of drilling operations to our seascape would compound these problems.
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 in relation to prohibiting state authorizations related to certain offshore oil and natural gas production.