Two States Take Steps to Ban Offshore Drilling
Last December, we covered the nine states that joined a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the exploration of gas and oil of the East Coast. Sixteen communities in South Carolina filed the lawsuit over concerns that the tools used to do offshore exploration for oil and gas is destructive to wildlife. The other states joined the lawsuit out of concern for the well-being of their coastal economy. Now, two states on opposite sides of the country are taking steps to oppose offshore drilling.
New York’s Ban
During the first week of February, the New York State Assembly voted to ban offshore drilling off the state’s coast. Then, the state’s Senate passed the bill with little opposition. It now awaits the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is a supporter of the ban and is expected to sign the bill into law.
This legislation prevents the granting of permits which are needed to accomplish oil and gas exploration in waters controlled by New York.
Though there have been no direct plans for exploring its waters, Oregon is also making progress toward banning drilling in its waters. Oregon currently has a moratorium on drilling that officials have renewed it every decade since 1989. Coastal legislators are seeking to make this moratorium permanent. The drilling ban would also prohibit any drilling infrastructure from crossing state-controlled waters. Currently, the bill has faced no opposition and with 22 sponsors in the legislature.
Why Are These Bans Happening Now?
These bans are a reaction to the current administration’s position on offshore drilling. For New York, the ban on drilling and exploration is a direct response to efforts that have already begun. Permits have been issued to allow exploration off the East Coast. Oregon’s ban is more of a preventative effort than a response to actual interest in oil exploration of its coast. The state is not currently an area of interest for most of the oil and gas industry. However, the current administration proposed allowing drilling off the Oregon shore for the first time since 1984.