N.Y. Bans Offshore Drilling in Effort to Prevent Trump Expansion

April 29, 2019, 8:54 PM

New York State has banned offshore oil and natural gas drilling along its Atlantic coastal waters in an effort to block a Trump administration proposal.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation (A.2572/S.2316) on April 29 that bars state agencies from granting permits for drilling or oil or gas exploration on state-owned underwater coastal lands, his office announced. The law, effective immediately, also prohibits the leasing of land that would lead to an the increase of oil or natural gas production from federal waters, according to the measure.

The legislation, passed by the state Senate and Assembly in February, is in response to the Trump administration’s plans to expand offshore drilling off most U.S. coastal waters.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in an April 25 Wall Street Journal article said those plans may be on hold indefinitely after a federal ruling upheld an Obama-era ban on drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

The drilling plan has received pushback from officials in several states, with California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon enacting laws blocking expansion of federal oil and gas leasing off their shores, according to the announcement. Other states have introduced similar measures including Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island and South Carolina.

“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,” Cuomo said.

Major spills related to offshore drilling could would have a devastating effect on the operation of the Port of New York and New Jersey—the largest on the Atlantic seaboard, according to the release.

The legislation in New York would shield the state’s 1,850 miles of tidal shoreline and protect endangered and threatened species such as the North Atlantic right whale, as well as the state’s recreational and commercial fishing industries, according to the measure.

To contact the reporter on this story: Keshia Clukey in Albany, N.Y., at kclukey@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Renee Schoof at rschoof@bloombergenvironment.com

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