Governor Cuomo Signs Offshore Drilling Ban

Vision Board and staff were out with 300 Long Islanders, including Billy Joel, earlier this week in support of the Governor signing a bill to ban offshore drilling.

Governor Cuomo, NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky, NYS elected officials, both County Executive’s and a calvacade of environmental groups were on hand including our friends from CCE, Sustainability Institute at Molloy, Friends of the Bay and others.

The new bill will now prohibit state agencies from processing new applications for pipelines or transportation and distribution services necessary for offshore drilling.  It was sponsored by NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky and NYS Assemblyman Steven Englebright, both from Long Island.

“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”

The move is a response to the Trump administration’s expressed desire to open up the Eastern Seaboard for oil and gas exploration.  To that effect the administration had previously announced that it would hold 46 lease sales for underwater fossil fuel exploration, including 9 on the Eastern Seaboard.  That plan is currently on hold, however, as a court ruling is currently upholding a ban put in place by the Obama administration in recent years.

In spite of the recent reversal of the policy due to the court ruling, the bill is considered a statement that New York’s waters are not open for fossil fuel exploration.  “This is about protecting our homes, our way of life and protecting what it is we love about Long Island and that is our marine waters,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

While the legislation only applies to New York State waters, which end three miles off shore, the new law will create a way for the state to slow or possibly block drilling near its waters.  This is due to the increased difficulty now in place for energy companies to procure permits for transmission or other operations.

You can read more here.