Cuomo Signs Offshore Drilling Ban

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On Monday, April 29, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that bans exploration, development, and production of offshore oil and gas in New York State waters and prohibits the construction of any new infrastructure in New York to support oil and gas development in the North Atlantic Planning Area, the federal government’s designation for federal waters offshore the tri-state area and New England. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Todd Kaminsky, was passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature.

The newly-enacted law drives home New York’s opposition to offshore oil and gas development at a time when the Trump Administration’s extreme oil and gas leasing proposal seeks to open virtually all ocean waters more than three miles from shore to oil and gas drilling—the entire East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, and Alaska. While the Trump Administration’s drilling plan appears to be on hold for now, the planning process could be restarted at any time and efforts to drill in the federal waters along the Atlantic coast could jeopardize New York’s ocean waters.

“No how, no way are you going to drill off the coast of Long Island,” Gov. Cuomo said when he took the podium.

The move has gained some local support by local organizations and environmental groups across the state. “Rockaway Women for Progress is committed to clean oceans and a clean environment. Today, Governor Cuomo will ban drilling in NY State waters,” Jean Belford, co-founder of Rockaway Women for Progress, said. “We applaud New York for taking this step to oppose offshore drilling.  However, this will only protect our waters three miles from shore, and until the entire Atlantic is removed from the plan, no states on the Atlantic coast are safe.”

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