New England politicians introduce bill to prohibit offshore drilling

Divulgacao Petrobras / CC BY 3.0 BR / MGN

Following the Department of the Interior's oil exploration proposal, politicians have introduced a bipartisan bill to prohibit drilling off the New England coast.

According to Congressman Bruce Poliquin, every member of the U.S. House from New England coastal states has signed on as a co-sponsor of the New England Coastal Protection Act..

“As I have voted in the past, I am opposed to oil drilling off the coast of our State of Maine," said Congressman Poliquin. "So much of our State’s economy and tens of thousands of Maine jobs along our coast depend on our marine and tourism industries. I am committed to protecting Maine’s unique natural resources.”

Senators Susan Collins and Angus King have also joined their New England Senate colleagues in introducing the bill.

“The waters off Maine’s coast provide a healthy ecosystem for our state’s fisheries and support a vigorous tourism industry, both of which support thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenue for Maine each year,” said Senators Collins and King. “With our environment so closely tied to the vitality of Maine’s economy, we cannot risk the health of our ocean on a shortsighted proposal that could impact Maine people for generations. We are proud to join our colleagues from New England to underscore the need to protect our waters from offshore drilling.”

Last week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the Trump administration would expand offshore oil and gas leasing to encompass around 90 percent of the United States’ coastlines.

In response, Senators Collins and King sent a letter to Secretary Zinke earlier this week expressing their opposition to the proposal. In their letter, the Senators highlighted concerns that even minor spills could cause serious harm to the lobster industry, which contributes an estimated $1.7 billion to the state’s economy, in addition to hurting other fisheries, aquaculture and coastal tourism.