Fed plan to drill for oil off LI draws
Dozens of speakers oppose
Trump administration proposal to open New York waters to offshore drilling.
New York State Assemblywoman
Christine Pellegrino addresses Kate MacGregor, assistant deputy to the
Secretary of the Interior at a meeting on Friday, March 2, 2018 at Brookhaven
Town Hall in Farmingville. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan
By Sophia Chang firstname.lastname@example.org @schangnewsdayUpdated March 3, 2018 8:12
Drilling for oil in Long Island
Sound and nearby Atlantic waterways would be catastrophic for environmental and
economic reasons, dozens of speakers told federal officials at a hearing Friday
in Brookhaven Town Hall.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley),
who opposes offshore drilling in the region, organized the hearing for
residents ahead of a public comment deadline next Friday on a Trump
administration plan to open nearly the entire U.S. coastline to oil and gas
drilling, including two zones near New York.
Representing the Department of
Interior were John Tanner, director of the Office of Congressional and
Legislative Affairs, and Kate MacGregor, assistant secretary of Land and
Zeldin told them “there is no
evidence of these resources even being located off of Long Island” and that
Long Island Sound supports an estimated $37 billion economy that would be
harmed by offshore drilling.
“Protecting our environment
goes hand in hand with protecting commerce in our region, where so many jobs
and small businesses depend on scenic beaches, parks and clean water to attract
visitors and economic growth,” Zeldin said.In January, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to block drilling off New York’s shores..
Zinke has agreed to protect
Florida from the list of potential drilling sites as he issued a new oil-rights
leasing plan to replace a five-year plan ending in 2022 that was issued in
The new plan proposes selling
nine leases in the Atlantic region, where none exist currently.
Hundreds attended Friday’s
hearing to voice their objections, including politicians from both parties.
“This is a bipartisan
opposition,” said Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle, a Republican. “We
are all Long Islanders. We all use and enjoy our waterways.”
“Are we willing to
industrialize our pristine coastlines?” asked state Assemb. Christine
Pellegrino (D-West Islip). She drew cheers as she told the Interior officials,
“Long Islanders will not stand idly by as the federal government endangers our
Afterward, Zeldin said he hopes
Zinke heeds the criticism.
“I’m confident that after
today’s testimony that we’ll be in an even stronger position than we were
before to successfully remove our area from the next draft proposal to be
released,” he said.