(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) issued the following statements voicing strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s offshore drilling expansion ahead of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management public meeting to be held today in Hartford.
“The reckless expansion of offshore drilling permits into nearly all United States waters would be a devastating, irreversible disaster for economies and environments from coast to coast. This massive gift to Big Oil will expose our nation’s waterways to the dangers of oil spills and drilling pollution, threatening fragile ecosystems and endangering countless jobs that rely on the health of our waters. If these are serious public meetings and not just PR charades, the Trump Administration will hear and heed the overwhelming public outcry and rescind this disastrous plan,” Blumenthal said.
“Connecticut residents are outraged, and I’m glad they’re making their voices heard today,” said Murphy. “New England depends on healthy, protected shorelines and the Trump administration is threatening to put it all at risk. I expect President Trump to take Connecticut residents’ concerns into account, as he apparently did when providing Florida with an exemption. I will do everything I can to reverse this dangerous policy.”
Blumenthal, Murphy and a bipartisan group of New England Senators led by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) have introduced the New England Coastal Protection Act to ban offshore drilling along the New England coast. According to the Conservation Law Foundation, ocean and coastal industries, including tourism, fishing, and recreation, generate more than $17.5 billion in New England annually. Expanding drilling in the Atlantic would harm New England’s vital industries, and significantly increase the chances of environmental disaster in the region.
Governors from both parties have denounced the Administration’s plan, citing the severe economic and environmental effects drilling will have on their states. After a meeting between Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Florida Governor Rick Scott in January, the Administration indicated it would exempt Florida’s coastline from the proposal, raising serious legal questions and triggering allegations of favoritism by the Administration. Blumenthal and Murphy joined a group of 22 Senators in a letter to Zinke demanding their states be given the same consideration as Florida.
Blumenthal and Murphy intend to submit formal opposition to the plan as part of Interior’s public comment period.