A.G. Schneiderman To Trump Administration: Don't Drill On Our Coast

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2018

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman 

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: DON’T DRILL ON OUR COAST

In letter to Department of the Interior, AG Schneiderman Warns that Administration’s Plan to Drill Offshore Will Endanger New York’s Environment and Economy – A $25 Billion Industry

Schneiderman – Part of Coalition of 12 Attorneys General – Argue Trump Administration’s Plan Will Threaten Over 3 Million Jobs

NEW YORK –Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today urged U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to terminate his plan to allow offshore drilling off the coast of New York.  The letter – sent by a coalition of 12 Attorneys General – followed recently submitted comments by Attorney General Schneiderman and others opposing the Trump administration’s proposed weakening of regulations governing safety systems for offshore oil and gas production.

“Offshore drilling poses devastating risks to New Yorkers’ lives, jobs, and natural resources,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “These risks were made painfully clear by disasters like Deepwater Horizon. Our coalition of Attorneys General will continue to fight back against the Trump administration’s ongoing assault on our communities and our environment.”

As today’s letter states, the program would “create multiple problems for nearly everyone who participates in or benefits from our states’ coastal and maritime economies. At a minimum, three million jobs across America depend on the ocean and coastal economy, which generated more than $350 billion in gross domestic prosperity of our states. It also endangers the unique ecologies of our shores and state ocean waters.”

Specifically, in New York, the proposed plan would pose an unacceptable threat to the state’s “coast and ocean resources, and the jobs and economy that depend upon them.” New York’s ocean economy “employs almost 350,000 people, generates $11.8 billion in wages, and contributes $24.9 billion in gross domestic product.” Additionally, “tourism and recreation accounts for 92 percent of employment in New York’s ocean economy and 82 percent of its gross domestic product, with Long Island’s tourism industry alone accounting for over $4 billion annually.” On Long Island’s south shore, the Fire Island National Seashore has been visited by 27 million people since 1967. Every year, around 10 million people visit the Gateway National Recreational Area, which includes “the National Park Service-administered Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a critical stopover area on the Atlantic Flyway, one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States, and one of the best bird watching locations in the western hemisphere.” The Gateway National Recreation Area and nine other sites that comprise the National Parks of New York Harbor attracted more than 17.5 million visitors in 2010.

Not only does the plan put at risk jobs and the environment, it also demonstrates disregard for the voices of the people of New York. State and local governments, as well as private citizens of New York, have made their opposition to this plan clear via the Department of Interior’s comment process. The Department of Interior pledged to make decisions based on “comments received” and reasoned analysis, yet it was announced via Twitter that the State of Florida would be taken “off the table for offshore oil and gas.” As today’s letter notes, the Department’s full statement did not sufficiently explain the reasons for Florida’s exemption. “Since that initial statement, [the] agency has offered multiple, contradictory statements about Florida’s status and the reasons for its exemption. These inconsistent remarks underline that the apparent Florida exemption seems not to have been based on reasoned analysis.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein led the coalition of 12 attorneys general taking today’s action, including New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia.