Environment and Energy, Features, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

NYS Governor Bans Offshore Drilling

May 6, 2019

By Stephanie West

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation (S.2316 (Kaminsky)/A.2572 (Englebright)) to ban offshore drilling in New York State waters. 

The legislation will bar the state from granting permits for drilling, or oil or gas exploration in offshore areas controlled by the State. The ban will protect New York’s waters and coasts by making it more difficult for oil and gas drilling to occur close to coastal New York, even in waters controlled by the federal government. In addition, the legislation prohibits the leasing of State-owned underwater coastal land that would authorize or facilitate the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas. The Governor signed the bill in response to the Trump administration proposal to open U.S. coastal areas to drilling.

“This bill says no way are you going to drill off the coast of Long Island and New York because we must lead the way as an alternative to what this federal government is doing,” Governor Cuomo said. “It’s about making sure Jones Beach and all of the coastal communities are here for our children and for the next generation. We must make sure we leave this world a better place for them in our job as parents, as citizens, as human beings is to pass it on better than you found it.”

In 2017, the federal government proposed a new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, which would open more than 90 percent of the country’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. For the first time in decades, the new federal plan would open up vast areas of the Atlantic Ocean for possible fossil fuel exploration and drilling, putting New York’s coast at direct risk of significant environmental damage.

Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Keeping Long Island’s waters pristine must be a priority for our state even when it is not for the federal government. By signing the prohibition on oil drilling today, Governor Cuomo and our entire state send a strong message that we will not move backward with respect to our energy policy and that we will keep moving forward to protect our natural resources.”

New York stands to lose nearly 320,000 jobs and billions of dollars generated through tourism and fishing industries.

New York’s ocean economy generates $11 billion in wages and contributes $23 billion in gross domestic product. Long Island and the New York Harbor are home to 11.4 million people, with 60 percent of the State’s population living along nearly 2,000 miles of tidal coastline.

The Port of NYNJ—the largest on the Atlantic seaboard—would be devastated by any major spill related to offshore drilling, disrupting operations and impacting the national economy. The Port supports 400,000 indirect jobs and 229,000 direct jobs while generating $90 billion in combined personal and business income and $8.5 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

May 6, 2019

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