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Cuomo: Let’s ban offshore drilling in NY

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks against plans to

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks against plans to open up new areas to offshore drilling on Friday in Manhattan. Credit: AP / Mary Altaffer

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed legislation Friday that would ban offshore drilling from New York State’s waters.

The legislation would also prohibit drilling equipment from the state’s coastline, effectively forcing any infrastructure into other jurisdictions, Cuomo said. And, he said, the bill would prohibit the transportation of any oil or gas drilled from New York’s federal coastline from being transported within the state.

“There is no how, no way we will ever allow offshore drilling,” Cuomo said at an event in Manhattan’s Battery Park on Friday.

The Trump administration has proposed opening nearly all of the United States’ coastal waters to gas and oil drilling, a plan that could affect about 1,000 miles of the state’s coastline, Cuomo said. Even if the governor’s legislation is adopted, the federal government could still drill beyond the state’s maritime jurisdiction, which extends 3 miles out.

But President Donald Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, has downplayed the administration’s plan, saying opposition has been fierce and there is “very little if any oil and gas reserves known off the coast of New York,” or the mid-Atlantic plate.

Zinke has also said that anti-drilling states like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts can hinder federal drilling by invoking state sovereignty, as Cuomo is proposing to do.

On Friday, Cuomo said that his legislation is “controversial,” because Washington could invoke the “annoying concept called pre-emption” — the notion in American law that the federal government trumps the states. If the federal government allows drilling, he threatened to resist in court and lead a “citizen fleet.”

“If they go to put a platform up or an exploration task force up, I am going to commission a citizen fleet . . . from throughout the state to go out and interfere with their federal effort just as Winston Churchill did in Dunkirk,” he said. “If you think I’m kidding, I’m not, and I’m going to lead that citizen fleet.”

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