Governor: Scrub NY from plan to expand offshore oil drilling
Jan. 15, 2018
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's governor urged the federal government Monday to exempt the state from a plan by President Donald Trump's administration to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, calling it "an unacceptable threat" to the state's heavily populated coastline.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the latest in a number of coastal governors to try to get their states withdrawn from the plan, which was announced earlier this month. So far, only Florida has been exempted.
New York's relationship to the sea is no less economically and environmentally important than Florida's, Cuomo said a letter Monday to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
"With this plan, the federal government is trampling on the interests of New Yorkers and threatening the future wellbeing of our state," the Democratic governor wrote. He cited the risk of oil spills and argued that offshore drilling runs counter to New York's own plans to increase offshore wind energy facilities.
The Interior Department had no immediate response.
The Republican administration's plan would greatly expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans, including more than a dozen states where drilling is now blocked. Zinke has said the plan would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines.
Industry groups have praised the proposal, while environmental organizations have denounced it.
At least 22 coastal states are affected. Their governors are split in their views.
After announcing it, Zinke decided to exempt Florida. Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, had argued that Florida was unique and noted its coastal tourism industry.
The Interior Department said Friday that Zinke had spoken with the governors of Rhode Island, Oregon, California, Washington, Delaware and North Carolina to get their input. All are Democrats who oppose drilling off their state's coasts.
Zinke also spoke last week with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican who objects to the plan for his state.