New York Requests Exclusion from Offshore Drilling Program

By The Maritime Executive 03-10-2018 07:26:31

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by Vice President Al Gore, announced on Friday that New York has formally requested an exclusion from the new five-year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. 

At New York University, the Governor also announced the single largest commitment to renewable energy by a state in U.S. history at $1.4 billion, which will advance 26 large-scale renewable energy projects across New York. The competitive awards are expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 430,000 homes. 

"Instead of protecting our waters from another oil spill, like the one that devastated the Gulf, this new federal plan only increases the chances of another disaster taking place," Cuomo said. "This is a total disregard for science, reality and history, and their actions defy everything we know. We believe the future is a clean energy economy, and New York is going to lead a counter-movement to what this administration is doing to the environment and illuminate the path forward."

In January 2018, the federal government unveiled the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas program, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total offshore acreage in the U.S. available to oil and gas drilling. This plan would open two areas of the North Atlantic coast adjacent to New York State for fossil fuel exploration. An exclusion from offshore drilling program was granted to Florida shortly after its launch on the grounds that the state relies heavily on tourism as one of the nation's top ocean economies.

As the number three ocean economy in the nation, New York stands to lose nearly 320,000 jobs and billions of dollars generated through tourism and fishing industries should the exclusion not be granted, said the Governor in a press release. Overall, New York's ocean economy generates $11 billion in wages and contributes $23 billion in gross domestic product.

Long Island and the New York Harbor are home to 11.4 million people, with 60 percent of our state's population living along nearly 2,000 miles of tidal coastline. The Port of NYNJ is the largest on the Atlantic seaboard, and a major spill that disrupted operations would be devastating to the national economy. The Port supports 400,000 indirect jobs and 229,000 direct jobs while generating $90 billion in combined personal and business income and $8.5 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. 

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "New York is leading the way by producing the nation's first-ever utility-scale offshore wind farm, and we want to continue our partnership with federal agencies to move this forward. Governor Cuomo's forward-thinking leadership charts a course for a sustainable and responsible future, free from the real threats offshore gas and oil drilling poses to our coastal communities."