NY Lawmakers Vote to Ban Oil & Natural Gas Drilling Off NY’s Coast

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This week, the New York Assembly and NY Senate, including local lawmakers like Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and Senators Joe Addabbo and James Sanders, banded with other state lawmakers to pass legislation prohibiting oil and natural gas drilling in New York’s coastal areas.

Specifically the bill (A.2572-Englebright) would amend the Environmental Conservation Law to prohibit the leasing of state-owned underwater coastal lands for oil and natural gas drilling, and add a new section to prevent the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of General Services from authorizing leases that would result in the increase of oil or natural gas production from federal waters.

In addition, the bill would amend the Transportation Corporations Law to restrict corporations from developing pipelines associated with the delivery of natural gas or oil from the North Atlantic Planning Area. Also, development of infrastructure associated with exploration, development or production of oil or natural gas would be prohibited from New York’s coastal waters.

“In order to protect our children, and all future generations, it’s crucial that we take steps NOW to protect our planet — especially the vital resources here in Rockaway and across the entire state,” Pheffer Amato said. “Working to preserve our coastlines and all associated natural resources is essential to the long-term preservation and protection of our environment, economy, and our quality of life. I’m proud to have voted yes on this bill.”

Dan Mundy, president of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers is relieved that the bill passed. “Oil drilling operations are inherently dangerous and even more so in areas like the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rockaway. Any type of accidental release during drilling operations would have devastating effects on the waters and coastal areas of Rockaway and Jamaica Bay.

“After years of hard work the waters off our coast are now cleaner then they have been in decades, and whales, dolphins and seals can regularly be seen cruising through these waters, It is not a time to allow ocean drilling to threaten the gains we have made,” Mundy said.

John Cori, president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association and Community Board 14 member is also pleased. “Huge thanks to Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato for working hard to keep off shore drilling away from our shores here in Rockaway and the rest of NYS. This bill will also help prevent companies from laying miles of additional dangerous pipe lines just miles from where we live work and play,” Cori said,

After passing the Assembly on Monday, February 4, and the Senate on Tuesday, February 5, the bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law.

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