Lawmaker will pursue introducing Congressional Review Act resolution to block proposed drilling plan
Washington (January 4, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today lambasted the Trump administration for proposing a new offshore drilling plan that would allow oil and gas drilling in the waters off the East, West and Florida coasts and the Arctic Ocean. In 2016, the Obama administration finalized its 5-Year Offshore Oil Drilling Plan, which included protections for the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts from offshore oil and gas drilling. In April 2017, Senator Markey introduced a bill that would legislatively prohibit the Interior Secretary from revising the approved offshore drilling plan to open up new areas.
“President Trump is proposing to hand over the beautiful Atlantic Coast to the rigs, drills, and spills of Big Oil, putting our environment and economy at risk,” said Senator Markey. “The Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans are natural wonders and economic engines, generating hundreds of billions in economic activity and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. After loosening the rules for offshore drilling safety last week, now the Trump administration wants to turn our coasts into fossil fuel free-for-alls. We cannot allow Georges Bank to become Exxon’s bank. The East Coast should forever be home to shellfish, not Shell Oil. Big Oil just sent a ‘Thank You’ note to Republicans for voting to open up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, and now the Trump administration is sending them a love letter in the form of this offshore oil drilling plan. When oil companies already possess area offshore the size of Kentucky yet to be drilled, there is no need to put our coastal fishing and tourism industries at risk.
“I will pursue all available legislative tools to fight any attempt by President Trump to allow drilling off of Massachusetts or the East Coast, including the Congressional Review Act, which allows for agency actions to be undone by a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress.”
The Trump administration’s draft proposed offshore drilling plan includes two leases sales in the North Atlantic Planning Area, in 2021 and 2023, which includes the waters off of Massachusetts. Last year, Senator Markey and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) led a group of 27 senators in calling on the Trump administration not to revise the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (Five-Year Plan) to eliminate protections for the East and West Coasts, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and for the sensitive marine ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean.