US: New York Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation to ban offshore drilling in New York State waters.
The new legislation (S.2316/A.2572) will bar the state from granting permits for drilling, or oil or gas exploration in offshore areas controlled by the State.
The ban aims to 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 authorise or facilitate the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas.
In 2017, the U.S federal government proposed a new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, which would open more than 90 per cent of the country’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling. For the first time in decades, the new federal plan would open vast areas of the Atlantic Ocean for possible fossil fuel exploration and drilling.
An exclusion from offshore drilling was granted to Florida shortly after its launch, on the grounds that the state relies heavily on tourism as one of the nation’s top ocean economies.
However, as the number three ocean economy in the nation, State officials warned that New York had not been granted this same exclusion and could lose nearly 320,000 jobs and billions of dollars generated through tourism and fishing industries should the exclusion not be granted.
Governor Cuomo, who was joined by singer-songwriter Billy Joel, signed the bill on Monday in direct response to the Trump administration’s proposal to open U.S. coastal areas to drilling.
Mr Cuomo stated that this bill ‘says no way are you going to drill off the coast of Long Island and New York’.
“Today is 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 because our job as parents, as citizens, as human beings is to pass it on better than you found it,” he said.
Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul also commented that the legislation to ban offshore drilling in New York’s waterways is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to protect local water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“While the federal government fails to address the threat of environmental damage, New York is continuing to lead the way with our aggressive clean energy goals and commitment to combat climate change for a cleaner and greener environment for future generations,” she outlined.