(Long Beach, NY) Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins joined Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Todd Kaminsky, and members of the Senate and Assembly Majority Conferences to announce support for historic legislation to ban oil and natural gas drilling in New York's coastal areas. The legislation (S.2316), sponsored by Senator Kaminsky, will protect Long Island and New York from the Trump Administration’s dangerous offshore drilling expansion efforts. The Senate Majority will pass this critical legislation on Tuesday, February 5.
“The Senate Majority will not stand by as the Trump Administration plans to drill off Long Island shores,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Long Island’s natural resources and communities’ quality of life are under threat. I applaud Senator Todd Kaminsky for his swift action to protect Long Island and for his leadership on protecting New York State’s environment. The Senate Democratic Majority will stand up for Long Island families and fight against any efforts to drill anywhere near New York’s coastlines.”
Senator Todd Kaminsky, bill sponsor and Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “It is essential for tomorrow that we protect our planet today—especially the vital natural resources here on Long Island and across our state. We are taking two big steps toward a more sustainable future for New York. I am proud to work with Leader Stewart-Cousins and our Senate conference on prioritizing and protecting Long Island's environment. Offshore drilling is dangerous to the local environment, and would reverse progress toward our climate change goals—it must be prohibited. And by curbing the over-fishing of menhaden, we are conserving an extremely important species in our Atlantic Ocean ecosystem.”
The legislation advanced by Senator Todd Kaminsky and supported by the Senate Democratic Majority will update New York State's decades-old laws regulating oil and natural gas drilling. Specifically, this legislation prevents conveyances, leases, and acquisitions of land for offshore oil and gas.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Protecting New York's coastal communities is critical to our future. We must value our natural resources and put people before energy company profits. Banning off-shore drilling will do just that.”
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “We don’t want the next Deepwater Horizon off New York’s shores. Today, by placing the needs of New Yorkers over the corporate greed of oil and gas magnates, the State Senate is ensuring that our coastline remains protected for generations to come. I commend Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins, Senator Todd Kaminsky, and my fellow Democratic colleagues for leading the charge to protect our environment. We only have one planet. If Washington won’t protect our environment, New York will take the lead.”
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. said, “I am proud to stand with my colleagues in advancing this vital legislation to prohibit oil and natural gas drilling off of New York’s coast. Permitting this kind of misguided and potentially disastrous drilling would endanger our environment, and hreaten fish and wildlife, while negatively impact tourism and the economy in coastal communities. At worst, it could result in potentially devastating spills and widespread irreversible contamination of our waters, beaches, homes and businesses located on or near the waterfront. It’s time to just say ‘no’ to this ill-advised activity in New York State.”
Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “Environmental protection should always be a top priority in this state and country. We must protect the beauty that this planet provides and preserve it for future generations to enjoy. I want to thank Senator Todd Kaminsky for sponsoring a bill that would ban oil and natural gas drilling in New York State. I am proud to stand with Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues in the legislature on this important issue.”
Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, “We don’t need more oil and gas. The U.S. already has more than it can use. What we need is to take climate change seriously. We should increase our investment in renewable energy, which is not only cleaner, but also increasingly less expensive than fossil fuels. And renewables will provide more jobs and more economic development.”
Senator Neil Breslin said, ”An environmentally sound and economically prosperous future is contingent upon investing in green technology infrastructure. Allowing offshore drilling is a direct contradiction to this effort. I applaud these necessary steps our Democratic Conference is taking to protect our environment for current and future generations."
Senator John Brooks said, ”Once again our precious natural resources are at risk from unscrupulous interests seeking to drill off of our Atlantic Coast. This legislation is a necessary step in protecting our shores and ensuring that what is truly special about Long Island remains in the collective hands of its citizens.”
Senator David Carlucci said, ”New York’s coast must be protected as the federal government looks to expand offshore drilling. Offshore drilling will only expose our coastal communities to potential oil spills, which can cause a costly environmental nightmare. In New York, we will keep our offshore communities safe and not accelerate climate change, as we look to increase renewable energy."
Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “I am proud to support a bill that prohibits drilling off New York's coastline. We must invest in new sources of energy without destroying our oceans and wildlife.The Trump administration’s reckless “drill, baby, drill” approach not only puts New Yorkers at risk, but fails to address the need for energy independence. We need to look at new and innovative energy solutions to ensure that future generations won’t be forced to clean up our mess.”
Senator Jim Gaughran said, "Offshore drilling is the single largest threat to the sustainability of Long Island's environment. I am proud that under Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State is moving towards protecting our natural resources and banning senseless proposals to drill off our beautiful coast.”
Senator Pete Harckham said, “New Yorkers want their coastline kept pristine and protected. Since President Trump has unwisely opened the Atlantic coast to drilling through Executive Order, this bill will amend New York State law to prohibit oil and gas drilling in our state’s coastal areas. If the federal government is going to take action that would damage our state’s environment and wildlife, we’re prepared to mitigate that action through state law.”
Senator Robert Jackson said, ”This ban on coastal oil and natural gas drilling is an important step we must take as state lawmakers to move New York toward a just transition. The iconic "New York islands" we sing about cannot be put at risk by extractive fossil fuel industries. This legislation is just the beginning of the work I hope we do this session to position New York as a leader in climate justice."
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “With hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline, our beaches and bays are some of Long Island’s most important natural assets. They not only attract millions of visitors to our region each year, driving significant economic activity, but they support the unique way-of-life that attracted so many of us to raise our families here. If we were to allow oil and gas drilling off our shores, we would be putting at risk so many of the things that make Long Island special. That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor legislation that would prohibit offshore drilling that could threaten our communities.”
"The plans to allow offshore drilling, put forth by the President, his Republican colleagues, and their oil and gas industry allies, would inevitably threaten beaches, local economies, wildlife, and coastal ecosystems," said Senator Brian Kavanagh, who represents the Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfront and serves on the board of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. "Even if the local dangers could be mitigated, 'drill, baby, drill' is simply an antiquated and unacceptable approach to meeting our energy needs. We need clean energy sources that can grow and sustain good jobs and healthy communities over the long term, not short-term profits for an industry that is systematically diminishing the Earth's habitability. So we say to the President and the fossil fuel companies: New York's coastal waters are not for sale."
Senator Liz Krueger said, “New York’s coastlines, our ports, and our waterways are inextricably linked to the prosperity and quality of life of our entire state. Allowing oil and gas drilling off our coasts is short-sighted and dangerous. It threatens our priceless natural resources and contributes to the destabilization of our climate. I’m proud to join my colleagues in saying New York waters are off-limits to these destructive practices.”
Senator John Liu said, ”We in New York must take the lead in safeguarding the planet from further damage since the federal administration has no interest in taking action on climate change and environmental protections. Making it unlawful to drill off of our coastlines is the first step of many we need to take to shield our state, in hopes of preventing further harm from egregious oil companies."
Senator Monica R. Martinez said, “As a coastal community, water is our most precious resource. Working to preserve our coastlines and all associated natural resources is essential to the long term preservation and protection of our environment, economy, and our quality of life. Long Island's future rests in the hands of all of us. Our way of life is under constant threat from the effects of climate change, and we must act now to minimize the damage by enacting regulations that will protect Long Island's natural resources for generations to come.”
Senator Rachel May said, “I am appalled that in 2019 we need to stand up against oil and gas drilling off the New York coast, but I am grateful to Sen. Kaminsky for this legislation to do so. An environmentally fragile coast in a heavily populated region is no place for risky extractive drilling. More than that, we owe it to our children and their children to move away from the fossil fuels that are destabilizing the global climate and to support instead robust energy efficiency and clean, green energy sources.”
Senator Shelley Mayer said, “I am proud to support S. 2316, which would ban offshore oil & gas drilling on state-owned coastal land. It will protect our coastal land from the dangers of offshore drilling, restrict the construction of pipelines to transport oil & gas through state-owned land, and reinforce New York’s commitment to sustainability. Additionally, the bill makes it clear that New York will not authorize, facilitate, or support an increase of oil & gas operations on federal waters, as threatened by the Federal Government. As a Senator representing Westchester's Sound Shore communities, I know how invaluable our waterways are as environmental and community resources. This bill is an important step forward in protecting them and the communities that depend on them.”
Senator Jen Metzger said, “As someone who has been fighting against short-sighted and harmful fossil-fuel projects for years--and fighting for the shift to a locally-based clean energy economy--I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation as a new Senator representing the 42nd District. The devastation from offshore drilling and exploration can be irreversible and any short-term economic benefits are simply not worth the risks to our air, water, and wildlife. Accelerating the shift to a clean energy economy is not only the right thing to do for the climate and environment--it is the right thing to do for New York's economy and our long-term energy security.”
Senator Jessica Ramos said, “Oil and natural gas drilling does great harm to our environment. There have been plenty of instances of oil leaks that seep into our ocean, killing wildlife and polluting the water. Many of my neighbors suffer from asthma because of pollutants in our air, and this bill is one step in making our air and water cleaner. Everyone should have access to clean air and water and New York State should be doing all it can to protect our environment and combat climate change.”
Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “This dangerous drilling process produces harmful toxins like mercury and lead. For the safety and protection of our environment and our health, it is important to prohibit oil and natural gas drilling in New York's coastal areas.”
Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, ”I'm proud to announce that I will be joining Senator Kaminsky's bill to protect New York coastal lands as a co-sponsor. I remain committed to clean energy solutions for our future that protect the planet while providing for our energy needs. Senate Democrats stand united in our resolve to prevent even further destruction of our environment through unnecessary oil and natural gas drilling."
Senator José M. Serrano said, ”New York’s beaches are one of our greatest natural treasures and we must preserve them for future generations. Offshore drilling would have a devastating effect on the safety of our communities, our marine ecosystem, and our multi-billion-dollar coastal economy. Today’s vote sends a strong message that we are committed to a clean energy future and to protecting our natural resources from the federal government’s regressive policies."
Senator Kevin Thomas said, “I stand with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Senator Kaminsky on this important legislation to protect the environment. Going forward with oil and gas drilling poses an unacceptable risk to the coastline and marine resources along the shores of Long Island. We need to keep our infrastructure intact, protect the environment and our beautiful beaches, which support our thriving tourism industry that so many of our residents rely on. This is not a partisan issue, it is simply a Long Island issue.”