March 07, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of today’s Department of the Interior (DOI) public meeting on the subject, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) once again voiced his opposition to the DOI’s proposal that would allow offshore drilling in the vast majority of federal waters, including potentially off the coast of Maine.
“At this afternoon’s meeting, the Department of the Interior will be seeking input from Maine people on the possibility of drilling off the coast of Maine,” said Senator King. “If today’s comments are anything like the responses my office has received, I expect the sentiment to be overwhelmingly opposed.
“In my view, that opposition is entirely justified. Maine’s oceans are a major economic engine for the state, especially in our coastal communities. From tourism to the lobster industry, the waters off Maine’s coast contribute billions and billions of dollars to the state’s economy – but those opportunities rely on healthy oceans, and a single mistake could cause irreparable damage to one of our state’s greatest resources. We won’t see tourists flocking to oil-slicked beaches, or lobstermen fishing for petroleum-covered lobsters, so why would we risk that outcome?
“In my view, this is a straightforward decision: any potential benefit that offshore drilling could bring is far outweighed by the risk of a catastrophe that could permanently compromise the livelihoods of so many Maine people. That’s why I’ve joined with the rest of the Maine Congressional delegation to strongly oppose any offshore drilling, and it’s why meetings like this are so important. This is an opportunity for the people of our state to make sure the Administration knows just how important our coasts are to Maine life. I hope the Interior Department takes note, rejects any proposed drilling off the coast of Maine, and protects one of our state’s most important resources for future generations of Maine people.”
In addition to the above statement, which was read by a member of Senator King’s staff at a press conference before the meeting organized by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Senator also released a video addressing the proposed plan on his social media accounts, which can be found HERE.
In the months since the DOI first unveiled this plan, Senator King has been steadfastly working against any drilling off the coast of Maine. In January, he joined with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) in sending a letter to Secretary Ryan Zinke expressing their opposition to the plan, and later that month the two joined their New England Senate colleagues in introducing the New England Coastal Protection Act to bar offshore drilling along the region’s coast. Last month, he spoke against the proposal on the Senate floor and highlighted the threat drilling poses to key sectors of the Maine economy.
The Interior Department’s draft proposed plan includes two auctions for offshore drilling leases in the North Atlantic region, which stretches from New Jersey to Maine. One auction is slated for 2021, and the second for 2023.