New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday ramped up his opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal to open up new areas for oil and gas drilling, proposing measures that essentially would ban fossil fuel drilling and exploration in the state’s waters.
During a Friday news conference on Manhattan’s southern tip, the Democrat announced that he had introduced legislation that would prohibit leases for drilling underwater within three miles of New York’s coastline. Gov. Cuomo’s “Save Our Waters” bill also would prohibit drilling-related infrastructure on state land and block navigation on New York waters of crude oil associated with offshore production in the North Atlantic.
“The federal government should hear my message. There is no how, no way we will ever allow offshore drilling,” said Gov. Cuomo, a two-term governor running for a third term in November.
Gov. Cuomo, a possible contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, said allowing offshore drilling would threaten nearly 320,000 jobs and billions of dollars generated through New York’s tourism and fishing industries. In March, Gov. Cuomo requested that New York waters be excluded from the federal drilling program.
Prohibiting drilling-related infrastructure from state land would protect New York even if the federal government allows drilling to occur beyond the state’s 3-mile limit, Gov. Cuomo said.
“You put in an oil platform, you better be prepared to run that pipe to Virginia because it’s not going to run to the state of New York,” he said.
Gov. Cuomo has been pushing renewable energy initiatives such as solar and wind power, and during a March event in New York City with former Vice President Al Gore, the governor called Republican President Donald Trump’s drilling expansion plan a “really, really dumb idea.”
“We can no longer be fossil fools and continue to advance outdated, potentially damaging offshore drilling,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
Gov. Cuomo drew chuckles at one point in his speech when he referenced former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the World War II evacuation of 300,000 British soldiers from the French coast, mostly accomplished with hundreds of privately owned vessels. Any federally approved drilling efforts will spur a similar response from New Yorkers intent on disrupting the project, Gov. Cuomo said.
“If you think I’m kidding, I’m not, and I’m going to lead that citizen fleet,” said Gov. Cuomo, a hint of a smirk on his face as an image of a British flotilla was projected on a screen next to him.