Policy Update

What you need to know about offshore drilling

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Coastal

NCEL Point of Contact

Private: Ava Ibanez
Project Manager for Ocean Policy

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There’s been a lot in the news lately regarding federal and state offshore drilling policies in the U.S. To keep you up to speed, here’s a rundown of the latest actions, starting with the most recent:

  • On Thursday, May 2, the Trump Administration announced a set of rollbacks on safety regulations that were put in place following the BP Deepwater Horizon accident. The changes remove a requirement for third-party testing of safety equipment like blow-out preventers, weaken requirements to maintain real-time onshore monitoring stations, and reduces the reporting frequency of equipment failures and operational issues to federal regulators. More coverage here.
  • This week, despite the Department of Interior’s decision to shelve its five-year leasing plan, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management confirmed it will continue processing permits for oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. These permits would allow companies to search for oil and gas deposits using potentially harmful seismic airgun blasts. More coverage here.
  • On April 29, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation that bans offshore oil and natural gas drilling along its Atlantic coastal waters in an effort to block the Trump administration proposed expansions. More coverage here.
  • On April 25, the Department of Interior announced plans to open up the Atlantic and Pacific coastline for offshore drilling have been indefinitely sidelined. This was the result of a March ruling that blocked offshore drilling in the Arctic and. More coverage here.

For the latest news, resources, and updates on state legislation on offshore drilling, please visit our website: https://ncel.net/offshore-drilling/.


In 2019, there are 11 states considering legislation to ban offshore drilling. So far this year, Oregon and New York have both passed restrictions.

States considering offshore drilling during the 2019 legislative session. California, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey all passed legislation restricting offshore drilling in 2018. Learn more at ncel.net/offshore-drilling.