Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright announced the Assembly will pass legislation (A.2572, Englebright) today to prohibit oil and natural gas drilling in New York's coastal areas.
"While the Assembly Majority knows that climate change is a very real issue that requires us to move away from fossil fuels, the administration in Washington continues to deny science-based data and push for dangerous and unsustainable practices like offshore drilling," said Speaker Heastie. "With this legislation, we will protect our waterways and wildlife, and will continue our mission to move New York forward."
"My Assembly colleagues and I held a hearing on Long Island last year and there was unanimous condemnation of the federal government's proposal to open up our waters to drilling for oil and gas," said Assemblymember Englebright. "This legislation will safeguard our water and shores from the dangers of fossil fuel exploration and drilling, and will support our efforts to move this state towards cleaner and renewable energy sources."
Today's legislation would prohibit the use of state-owned underwater coastal lands for oil and natural gas drilling, and would prevent the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of General Services from authorizing leases that would increase oil or natural gas production from federal waters. The bill would also prohibit the development of infrastructure associated with exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas from New York's coastal waters.
Despite the many environmental disasters that have been caused by offshore drilling and the overwhelming scientific evidence linking the use of fossil fuels to dangerous climate patterns, the administration in Washington continues to aggressively pursue fossil fuel exploration. In 2017, President Trump issued an "America-First Offshore Energy Strategy" as the first step toward opening previously protected parts of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration.
Drilling off New York's Atlantic Coast has been off limits for decades, and as a result some of the state's laws regulating oil and natural gas drilling have not kept pace. This legislation would correct this oversight and maintain New York's coastal management practices to ensure the protection of endangered and threatened species, as well as the state's recreational and commercial fishing industries.
The Assembly Majority is committed to protecting our precious natural resources and continuing our aggressive efforts to move our state toward cleaner energy sources.