Legislators from Nine States Announce Coordinated Effort to Block Offshore Drilling
January 8, 2019
Today nine state legislators from nine states announced a united effort to protect their coasts from offshore drilling. Back in March, over 225 legislators from coastal states raised their voices in opposition. Now, states are taking action by introducing legislation that would limit any new offshore drilling capabilities off their coasts.
States included Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
The announcement comes on the same day that various members US House of Representatives announce bills to protect coastal communities from offshore drilling.
Legislators understand that an oil spill anywhere is an oil spill everywhere, impacting not just their constituents but everyone who depends on their coasts for income and recreation.
“A spill from drilling in the Atlantic could eventually bring contaminants to Long Island Sound,” said Connecticut State Representative Mary Mushinsky. “Coastal states need to stand together as one as we all introduce similar legislation.”
Offshore drilling also means more greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating the effects of climate change on communities.
“In Georgia, we understand that climate change is real and that we are elected at the state level to protect good jobs, clean water, and breathable air,” said Georgia State Representative Park Cannon.
“With global climate change continuing to accelerate, expanding offshore drilling is the last thing we should be doing,” said Maine State Representative Mick Devin. “Not only will it pose an unacceptable risk to marine life and all those who depend on it for work, but it will also perpetuate our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, threaten our way of life and endanger countless species.”
States are taking action regulating drilling activities and infrastructure within state waters. Coastal tourism, fisheries, shipping, and defense are the underpinning of all U.S. coastal states’ economies. Expanding offshore drilling is a risk these states cannot afford to take.
“The Trump administration’s decision to open offshore drilling off the coast of Massachusetts could devastate the tourism and fishing industries that drive our state’s vibrant blue economy,” said Massachusetts State Representative Dylan Fernandes. “The future of energy is from clean, renewable sources and we will do everything in our power to stop the administration from advancing energy policies that hurt our economy, public health, and environment.”
New Jersey became the first state to ban offshore drilling within state waters last year, followed shortly by actions in Delaware, Maryland, California, and Florida. In 2019, a growing majority of coastal states have continued standing up to protect their coasts.
“These state legislators are committed to protecting the coastlines of the United States, and the safety and livelihood of their constituents,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. “They understand the economic and environmental importance of our coasts and are standing together against this proposal.”
Created by and for state legislators, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes over 1,000 environmentally committed state legislators from all 50 states and both parties. NCEL provides venues and opportunities for lawmakers to share ideas and collaborate on environmental issues.