Protecting Long Island: Senate Democrats Fight Against Offshore Drilling

(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 Conference 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 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 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 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 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.”

Senator Kevin Parker said, “With so many renewable alternatives available in New York State, off shore drilling and oil exploration just does not make sense.  It is time for New York State to stand up and protect our coastline while we develop the clean power that will meet the energy needs of tomorrow.”

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Senators Involved