Senator Mike Gabbard Joins Legislators from Seven Other States to Announce Coordinated Effort to Block Offshore Drilling

NEWS RELEASE –for immediate release
January 8, 2019

Senate Contact: Senator Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830

Honolulu, HI – Honolulu, HI - Today, Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee, joined legislators from seven other states in a united effort to protect our coasts from offshore drilling. In March, after the release of the Trump Administration’s Proposed OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, over 225 legislators from coastal states raised their voices in opposition. Now, these states are taking action by introducing legislation that would limit any new offshore drilling capabilities off their coasts.

States included Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

Senator Gabbard said, "I realize that we won't be the first on banning offshore drilling for fossil fuels, as 5 states have already beat us to the punch. At this point we don't have proven petroleum or natural gas reserves or production, but it’s still important that we join with other states and lead on this important issue. I'm partnering with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and will introduce a bill later this month to ban offshore drilling for oil or natural gas in state marine waters. I'm hopeful that our combined legislation efforts will send a message to our current President that it's time to transition away from dirty fossil fuels to renewable energy!"

Legislators understand that an oil spill anywhere is an oil spill everywhere, impacting not just their constituents but everyone who depends on their coasts for income and recreation. Offshore drilling means more greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating the effects of climate change on their communities.

States are taking action regulating drilling activities and infrastructure within state waters. Coastal tourism, fisheries, shipping, and defense are the underpinning of all U.S. coastal states’ economies. Expanding offshore drilling is a risk these states cannot afford to take.

New Jersey became the first state to ban offshore drilling within state waters last year, followed shortly by actions in Delaware, Maryland, California, and Florida. In 2019, a growing majority of coastal states have continued standing up to protect their coasts.

“These state legislators are committed to protecting the coastlines of the United States, and the safety and livelihood of their constituents,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. “They understand the economic and environmental importance of our coasts and are standing together against this proposal.”