Senator Dianne Feinstein today joined with a group of 21 other coastal state senators to tell the Trump administration they don’t want oil and gas drilling off their coasts and are demand their states receive the same respect recently given to Florida, which was granted a special exemption by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Last week, the Trump administration announced a controversial plan to dramatically expand drilling leases across 90 percent of the outer continental shelf, including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Arctic Ocean.
After a discussion with Florida’s Republican governor, Secretary Zinke took the offshore drilling expansion off the table for federal waters off the coast of Florida, doing so without any public hearings or input. The administration denies that Florida received a special exemption because President Trump owns property along the state’s coastline.
“Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies,” the senators wrote. “Providing all of our states with the same exemption from dangerous offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm’s way.”
In addition to Senator Feinstein, the letter was signed by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
A copy of the letter follows:
January 11, 2018
The Honorable Ryan Zinke
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Zinke:
We write to you today regarding your recent decision to remove Florida from inclusion in the Trump Administration’s new proposal to open up the vast majority of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling. We request that our states also be immediately exempted from any new oil or gas leases as a part of this plan.
In the statement on your decision to remove Florida, you indicated that President Trump had directed you to reestablish our country’s offshore oil and gas leasing program in a way that “takes into consideration the local and state voice.” In addition to Florida, the states of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Washington have all opposed this plan for new leases off their coasts. Coastal cities and towns across the country have also passed resolutions in opposition while local residents, businesses, scientists, the military, and others have publicly raised serious concerns.
Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from dangerous offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm’s way.
We urge you to honor the commitment of this Administration by listening to the local and state voices that we represent and to respect their overwhelming opposition to oil and gas drilling off our coasts. Instead of focusing on short term benefits for oil and gas companies, our country should be looking toward a clean energy future. We hope we can work with you to protect our natural resources, our environment, and the livelihoods of coastal residents so that they remain for future generations.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.