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Rep. Zeldin & Bipartisan, Bicameral NY Delegation Underscore Opposition to Drilling off Long Island Coast in Letter to Secretary Zinke

February 8, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY), and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D, NY-25) were joined by a bipartisan, bicameral delegation of New York Members in sending a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke underscoring their opposition to offshore drilling off the coast of Long Island.

“New oil and gas development raises the possibility of a disastrous oil spill and increases risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and metals used in offshore drilling operations,” Members wrote.  “These threats to New Yorkers’ coastal industries, public health, and unique natural environments are unacceptable and should not be ignored. The long-term health of New York is inextricably linked to protecting our ocean resources.”

The Department of Interior recently proposed opening 90% of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to energy exploration, including parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

In January, Congressman Zeldin was joined by state and local officials, environmental stakeholders and business leaders at the Riverhead Aquarium to present a united front in opposition to offshore drilling off the coast of Long Island. The Congressman was joined by Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, President and CEO of Discover Long Island Kristen Jarnegin, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Group for the East End, Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Sierra Club of Long Island, Audubon Society of New York, and other environmental groups.

A PDF of the signed letter is available here.

Full text of the letter is as follows.

The Honorable Ryan Zinke   

Secretary        

United States Department of the Interior      

1849 C Street NW     

Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke:

We write to request that New York State be exempted from consideration of new oil and gas drilling leases as part of the recently announced Draft Proposed Program for the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. This plan would open up two lease sales in areas of the North Atlantic coast adjacent to New York State for fossil fuel exploration.

New York’s almost 2,000 miles of tidal coastline are unique and important to our economy that includes industries such as tourism, shipping, construction, fishing and living resources. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, New York has the third largest ocean economy with 20,894 businesses, employing more than 350,000 workers, paying over $11 billion in wages, and contributing over $24 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.

New oil and gas development raises the possibility of a disastrous oil spill and increases risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and metals used in offshore drilling operations. These threats to New Yorkers’ coastal industries, public health, and unique natural environments are unacceptable and should not be ignored. The long-term health of New York is inextricably linked to protecting our ocean resources. For this reason our state has invested in improving water quality, restoring aquatic ecosystems, and developing renewable energy.

The Draft Proposed Program exposes our precious aquatic ecosystems to degradation and threatens our investments. Local voices across our state, including our Governor, have spoken up in opposition to this new offshore drilling plan, which we do not want and do not need. We respectfully request that local and state voices in New York seeking exemption from new oil and gas leasing be given the same consideration afforded to those in other states, such as Florida. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.  

Sincerely,

Representative Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY)

Representative Louise Slaughter (D, NY-25)

Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D, NY)

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, NY-10)

Representative Jose Serrano (D, NY-15)

Representative Joe Crowley (D, NY-14)

Representative Nydia Velazquez (D, NY-7)

Representative Grace Meng (D, NY-6)

Representative Adriano Espaillat (D, NY-13)

Representative Brian Higgins (D, NY-26)

Representative John Suozzi (D, NY-3)

Representative Eliot Engel (D, NY-16)

Representative Paul Tonko (D, NY-20)

Representative Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21)

Representative Carolyn Maloney (D, NY-12)

Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8)

Representative Kathleen Rice (D, NY-4)

Representative Peter King (R, NY-2)

Representative Gregory Meeks (D, NY-5)

Representative John Katko (R, NY-24)

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18)

Representative Yvette Clarke (D, NY-9)

Representative Dan Donovan (R, NY-11)

Representative John Faso (R, NY-19)

Representative Nita Lowey (D, NY-17)  

 

 

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