U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York joined 25 of their Democratic colleagues in a campaign to prevent the Trump Administration from opening new offshore areas for oil exploration.
In a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, the senators called on the administration not to revise the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (Five-Year Plan) that covers the East and West Coasts, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and American coastal territories in the Arctic Ocean. The senators argued that the oil supply is still considerable and the threat of oil spills from offshore operations is still acute.
“Keeping protections from offshore drilling in place for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in the Five-Year Plan is essential to protect key industries for our states, such as fishing and tourism, our environment and our climate,” the senators wrote to Zinke. “Allowing drilling anywhere on the East or West Coasts would threaten key economic drivers for these states such as fishing and tourism with the risk of an oil spill. Offshore oil spills don’t respect state boundaries and a spill off the coast of one state could easily affect another.”
Blumenthal and Gillibrand also co-sponsored a bill that would prohibit the Interior Department from revising the offshore drilling program through fiscal year 2022.